State has to pay HUF 20 million to Kishantos organic farm according to court ruling

June 29, 2017

The National Land Manager Organization (NFA) has to pay HUF 20 million (USD 75,000) to the Kishantos organic farm for agricultural work undertaken in 2013, according to the second-degree ruling of the Budapest-Capital Regional Court, reports Hungarian news site index.hu based on Greenpeace’s statement.

The court ruled that NFA must pay for the field stock-taking works that were conducted by the Kishantos Center for Rural Development. The field stock-taking was requested by NFA in order to preserve the land for organic farming.

The field works in question mainly consisted of the Autumn sowing, whose HUF 20 million costs should have been covered by NFA.  However, the Kishantos center never received the payment, so they appealed to court in 2014.

Kishantos Nonprofit was founded in 1998 as a self-sufficient, ecological model farm in central Hungary. In 2012 state lands Kishantos had been cultivating for 14 years were awarded to eight other parties, including Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s childhood friend, Lőrinc Mészáros, at public auction.  The move was widely seen as the governing parties’ way of punishing rogue Fidesz MP József Angyán, a leading authority on sustainable agriculture, for having the temerity to criticize their decision to sell state lands at private auction and channel EU funds to agribusiness rather than small and mid-size farms.

In 2014 Márton Bitay, under-secretary responsible for state-owned agricultural land, claimed that Kishantos was behind in its rent and had damaged state interests by not complying with agreements. In 2015 the Budapest Capital Court of Appeals ruled that Bitay’s statement misled public opinion.