Seeing the Philippines as an agricultural country, Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjárto said his country could be a big help to Filipino farmers by automating farming in the countryside.
“Hungary too is primarily an agricultural country and our export over gross domestic product [GDP] is more than 90 percent. Meaning we are dependent on external economy,” he told The Manila Times recently in an exclusive interview.
Szijjarto said while Germany is the economic backbone of Europe, central Europe where Hungary is located is the backyard of the continent.
“We produce products for exports,” he added.
Hungary exports parts of Mercedez Benz cars, Szijjarto said.
According to the Hungarian official, the Philippines could improve its exports by employing machines that will make it easier to grow and process agricultural products.
He said Hungary has the strictest food regulatory policies in Europe, with its Constitution banning, for example, genetically modified organism (GMO), and such policies have made the country’s agricultural products more in demand.
Szijjárto brought with him eight businessmen who are closing negotiations in exporting meat products and agricultural machines and technology.
He said their meat products include pork, beef and poultry.
Hungary also makes farming tools for harvesting and hauling.
At present, the Philippines exports fresh fruits and vegetables to Hungary.
Szijjarto said he hopes for more products to enter their ports in the future once agricultural automation is implemented.
He said Manila is exporting more to Budapest..
Hungary has a 10-million population compared to the 110 million of the Philippines.
“What is more attractive is the 6.8 percent growth of Philippines, the highest in Asia,” the Hungarian official said, adding that this growth was the main reason why Hungary has reopened its embassy in Manila after 22 years since it closed it down in 1994.
Szijjarto earlier disclosed that Hungary has made available $510 million for funding business ventures of Hungarians in the Philippines and Filipinos in Hungary.
Hungary was one of the first foreign donors who rushed to help victims of super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 that struck Leyte province in the Visayas the hardest.