Disadvantaged local governments and their institutions may apply for HUF 250 million in funding this year within the framework of the Social Land Programme, the Minister of State for Social Inclusion of the Ministry of Human Resources announced on Thursday at a press conference held in the locality of Panyola in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County.

Mr Kovács said that the model programme that is comprised of three components has been launched with an allocation of HUF 120 million dedicated to public work, HUF 50 million assigned to development projects and asset procurements, and HUF 80 million made available for small-scale crop cultivation and small animal husbandry projects. In each of the 3 components, proposals may be submitted until 3 April.

The initiative permits the development of new methods and practices which may later be used in other calls for proposals; for instance, within the framework of the agricultural component of the Start Public Works Programme, the Minister of State said. 
Zoltán Kovács reiterated that the Social Land Programme had helped some 300 thousand people in 150 localities last year, and agricultural work was conducted on more than 500 hectares of previously uncultivated land. Small localities have recently undergone spectacular development, and large tracts of land are no longer left uncultivated and unused.

The purpose of this year’s calls for proposals is to support a further 50 thousand people in an area almost twice the size of that cultivated earlier, and the Programme seeks to engage 1,500 disadvantaged people in public work schemes to thereby create a product chain as part of the social economy which renders the initiative sustainable in the most disadvantaged localities.

The Programme will last from 1 July 2014 until 30 April 2015. In the public works component of the project, funding of between HUF 500,000 and HUF 3.5 million may be requested; applications for HUF 1 to 3 million may be submitted for asset procurements, and sums ranging between HUF 500,000 and HUF 1.2 million may be requested for small animal husbandry projects. The funding awarded within the framework of the Social Land Programme is non-repayable; the sums awarded are paid to the winning applicants in the form of post-funding. Each organisation may only submit proposals for one component.

Mayor of Panyola Zoltán Muhari (Fidesz-KDNP) said at the press conference that the Social Land Programme has been operational in the locality situated in the vicinity of Fehérgyarmat since 2007. Packages of seeds are currently being distributed among disadvantaged families in the village, while in a month’s time the locals will be given young ducklings. The goods produced will, on the one hand, enable families to save money, while they may also produce goods for sale on the market, the Mayor pointed out.

The region's Fidesz MP Attila Tilki underlined that the Social Land Programmes function as compasses, as these initiatives preceded the Start Public Works Programme. Local unemployment has been reduced to a minimum, and people are extremely proud of their work and the fact that their produce is being used in local public catering. The next step will be the development of a district-level logistics scheme for the distribution of the goods produced, he added.

(Ministry of Human Resources)