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Farmers’ representatives signed an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Parliament building midday Sunday. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány also signed the document.

When signing the document, Ferenc Gyurcsány said he has good feelings about the agreement, which brought an end to three weeks of farmers’ demonstrations in the Hungarian capital. Gyurcsány said he will submit a proposal at the next government meeting to fulfil the contents of the agreement with the farmers. He added that the deal was made observing the limits of the central budget. Gyurcsány earlier stressed that the farmers should realize that the government cannot spend more on agriculture than specified in the central budget, because otherwise the government would curb the budgets of other important areas of the national economy.

Prior to the official signing ceremony Agriculture Minster Imre Németh and István Jakab, president of farmers association Magosz, said the agreement was reached in anticipation of Hungary’s national holiday on March 15. “It was crucial for the Hungarian nation that this agreement was reached before the most important national holiday,” said Németh. He praised the attitude of farmers’ representatives and added that the government did not want to win, but to settle the dispute.

According to the agreement, the government raised subsidies on animal breeding to a total of HUF 10 billion, of which HUF 6 billion can be spent on hog breeding and HUF 4 billion on poultry breeding. The subsidy budget will be available for individual claims until it will be used up entirely. Another point of the deal doubled the grace period on loans taken by farmers whose farms were hit by draught and freeze in 2003.

“Three weeks of negotiations have shown that the farmers had rightful claims,” said István Jakab, adding that the farmers did not intend to disturb the peace of the country. Sunday evening the several hundred tractors that stationed in the capital for three weeks left Budapest in convoys.

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