Join Statement: Stop land grab in Hungary!

From 5 to 8 April, a number of organisations came together in Budapest for the Food Sovereignty Programme meeting organised by Friends of the Earth International. At the end of the meeting the participants approved a statement supporting the struggle against land grab in Hungary. The following statement was issued by: 

FoEI Food Sovereignty Programme meeting, Budapest (Photo: Mariann Bassey)
  • Friends of the Earth International
  • La Via Campesina
  • Transnational Institute
  • World March of Women
  • Corporate Europe Observatory
  • Campanha Permanente Contra os Agrotoxicos e Pela Vida, Brazil
  • Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores, Brazil


We, the undersigned organisations who represent millions of grassroots communities, women’s organisations and small-scale farmers across the globe  support the struggle against land grab in Hungary.

Access to land, including control of how it is used and for what purposes, is for local farmers a key element of food sovereignty. Therefore we are very concerned by the alarming rate of land grabbing happening world wide. We recognize that land grabbing is not only happening in the Global South but also in Europe.

We have learned that according to estimates around 1 million ha of land in Hungary have already been grabbed by foreign investors via so called “pocket contracts” and hundreds of thousands of hectares by companies or Hungarian landlords via the leasing of state owned land. The planned new land tenure act submitted by the Hungarian government to the parliament would further accelerate land grabbing and concentration of land unless the draft law is  changed by amendments that are supported by almost two hundred civil society groups and farmers’ organizations.

Therefore we support the struggle of the Hungarian food sovereignty movement and their demands in the struggle against land grabbing: – Local  communities should have the right to control land and natural  resources.

  • The Accession Treaty between the EU and the new member states  (including Hungary) should be reviewed and the chapter about opening up the land market in the accession countries should be deleted.
  •  The Common Agriculture Policy and the energy policies of the EU should  be reformed to ensure that EU subsidies (eg. territory based subsidies or  agrofuels/biomass subsidies) and the renewable energy targets (including agrofuels targets) won’t lead to land grabbing.
  • All possible “pocket contracts” should be explored by the government  and should be invalidated before the expiration of the land moratorium.
  • The proposed land tenure act should be changed in a way that it serves  the local and small farmers instead of the big investors and agribusiness. The  remaining potential loopholes for “pocket contracts” should be closed.
  • An independent review of the leasing of state owned land must be  conducted and the contracts that lead to land grabs must be cancelled. Instead the land should be given to local small scale farmers.
  • Land use should serve local farmers and communities instead of agrobusiness.