This year some 151 localities were awarded HUF 250 million for social land programmes, and farming opportunities were provided for the needy in an area of three hundred hectares. The Government will continue the programme, the Minister of State for Social Inclusion at the Ministry of Human Resources said on Sunday at the press conference held in Sóshartyán in Nógrád County.

Zoltán Kovács stressed that, with the aid of the social land programme and the Start model programme, „localities may move towards sustainability, while local residents may move closer to self-sustenance”. The Government will therefore support the social land programme also in the future.

Photo: Karoly Arvai

This is a programme „seeking good practices”, the Minister of State added, in response to which more than 180 localities submitted proposals. He said that the Government supported programmes that rely on the local features and are sustainable in the long run. Upon the assessment of the proposals, the procurement of new equipment, processing and small animal husbandry were and will continue to remain the main priorities also next year, in addition to the criterion of traditional farming methods.

Zoltán Kovács highlighted that the fruit and vegetables produced in the social land programme and the animals raised as part of the Start model programme are used in public catering, and the programmes therefore create an opportunity to supply local communities with quality foodstuffs and to reduce the expenditures of local governments. The goal is to promote self-sustenance and to help producers to gain access to the market for their products.

Photo: Károly Árvai

Gabriella Tóth, independent mayor of Sóshartyán stated at the press conference that twenty people take advantage of the opportunities offered by the social land programme in their locality. Initially, they supported families individually by supplying them with sowing seeds and small animals, and the potatoes grown on the communal fields were distributed among the needy. In a farm building of the ground space of 400 square metres which was refurbished as part of a public works project, they now keep geese, sheep, rabbits and cattle, and they planted fruit trees on some of the municipality land.

She also told the press that those working in animal husbandry and the preservation workers who will work in the new pickling plant will be trained in courses.

The mayor told MTI that there are land owners in the village who placed their landed areas at the disposal of the Start model programme free of charge.
Gabriella Tóth asked the Minister of State to ease the regulations relating to public hygiene. In spite of the fact that they employ a veterinary surgeon, at this point in time, they are unable to supply meat to the school kitchen that provides meals for 58 kindergarten and 108 school children, the head of the locality reported on their meeting.

(MTI, State Secretariat for Social Inclusion)