30th October 2013, Wednesday
Almost 40 Polish agriculture principal researchers visited ÖMKi between 24th and 27th October. This study trip was designed for getting acquainted with Hungary’s organic farming through our research and development work in organic agriculture. On the first day our guests visited Corvinus University Horticultural Science department in Budapest where short series of presentations about the scope of organic agriculture in Hungary, organic farming studies, on-farm research of ÖMKi and current support schemes were made.Notable speakers included Dr. Dóra Drexler (managing director of ÖMKi), Dr. Zita Szalai and Dr. Péter Pusztai (docents of Corvinus University of Budapest), Dávid Papp (doctoral candidate of Corvinus University) and Dr. Attila Lucskai (research associate of organic agriculture and mycology of the Food and Fodder Safety Division of Ministry of Rural Development). Our Polish colleagues then introduced their agriculture research institutes and experimental localities. All their institutes deal with research and development of organic farming, from plant breeding and biological plant protection to organic animal keeping. The technical advice centre at Radom deals strictly with development of organic agriculture in Poland. The Organic Food Valley Cluster also introduced itself; this is the first Polish association specifically targeting the expansion of organic farming (click HERE for details published in BioHolMi magazine). Participants were able to relax or explore Budapest after the professional programme followed by dinner on a sight-seeing boat trip on the Danube.
On the second day we made an excursion to the Tokaj wine-growing region. Special features and challenges of organic wine production as well as processing of natural Botrytis-contamination on wine grapes required for producing the classic ’aszú’ wine were all shown. Both lunch and the five tasted wines were excellent. Thereafter we visited the plant of Tokaj-Oremus Winery at Tolcsva where we looked in on the processing of wine grapes. Plantations at this vineyard are partly certified organic ones. Polish colleagues were informed in detail about production and technological features of wines with special quality. This programme ended with wine-tasting of six items. Both wineries take part in ÖMKi’s on-farm study about native inter-row ground cover plant mixtures in vineyards, which were shown to the guest in situ by Ádám Donkó, research associate on the subject.
On the final day we went to the brood rearing ponds of Hortobágy Fish Farm. János Sári, who is responsible for the professional work of the ponds, showed us the estate that has been dealing with certified organic fishkeeping and breeding since July 2002. He gave a lecture about organic fish rearing and the successful alternative, homeopathic preventive and therapic treatments of fish. Fish brooding was also observed. Then we travelled to Hortobágy where racka sheep, grey cattles, Nonius horses and water buffalos were driven over river Hortobágy on the famous ’bridge with nine holes’. After this spectacular procession, part of a local festival celebrating the end of grazing season, we visited Puszta Animal Park, where our tour leader provided a comprehensive presentation about Hungary’s native animal varieties and their breeding schemes. Among others, we heard about the history and gene preservation of the Transylvanian naked-neck hen, Hungarian goat and donkey, racka sheep, mangalitsa pig, hucul horse and Hungarian grey cattle.
Our Polish colleagues showed great interest in the programmes of the study trip and actively took part in the conversations with Hungarian experts. As the next step in this collaboration, members of ÖMKi will visit Radom to take part at the conference about studies of Polish organic agriculture.