On June 17th the Budapest Capital Regional Court of Appeal invalidated the contract between the National Land Fund (NFA) and a company called Mező Vidék Bt.
It was argued successfully in Court that giving 28 hectares to a company that had no agriculture activity at the time their application was submitted was against the rules.
This Court proceeding relates to the site where the Kishantos organic farm operated for 21 years up to October 31st 2013. From 1998 up until October 31st 2013, Kishantos was a unique 435 hectare organic farm, rural development and education centre.
On 31st October 2013, Kishantos’ land lease from the Hungarian State ended. Rather than renewing it, the Hungarian Land Fund (representing the State as the owner) issued an open call tender for the rent of the lands in ten lots.
The sale to Mező Vidék Bt. – who acquired one of the ten lots – is now in question.
Importantly, the Court of Appeal also ordered new judicial proceedings regarding the legality of the announcement of the land lease and regarding NFA’s decision making process about applications.
This means that NFA should start a new tender for that part of the land and the Kishantos Countryside Development Center (representing the previous Kishantos organisation) can apply for it.
According to Katalin Rodics of Greenpeace in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) / Hungary “With this decision we are making a precedent in land-isssue, many farmers are watching this legal precedent and make use of it to get land back from the government-related “new owners”.”
She continues: “Although we are still very far from solving the entire Kishantos case, this is a very important step towards that direction.”
Technical details of the recent legal developments from the Budapest Beacon “Court invalidates results of 2012 state ground tender in Kishantos bio-farm case”
Hungarian Greenpeace Press Statement (Hungarian)
As we reported last year, the site was a focal point for local mobilisation against industrial farming and land grab.
More detailed background to Kishantos
Stripped of its land, Kishantos remains defiant and determined (May 2015) Budapest Beacon
What is the story with Kishantos? (8 minute video with English subtitles)