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TDK conference 2017

Competitiveness analysis of the hungarian aquaculture sector
Várhidi Zsóka - year 4
University of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Forensics, Law and Economics
Supervisor: Dr. László Ózsvári


The continuous growth of the world’s population is a constant challenge for agriculture to be able to satisfy the increasing food demands. Thus, fishery and in particular aquaculture production plays a very important role in securing food supply. In the past two decades, the opportunities of sea fishery were decreasing so the development of aquaculture makes the expansion of aquatic animal production possible. That is why the aim of my research was to analyse the competitiveness of the Hungarian aquaculture sector.

To assess the global and European significance and development trends of fishery and aquaculture, I analysed the statistical data of the time period of 1980-2015. In order to evaluate the status and significance of Hungary’s aquaculture sector, especially pond farming, I analysed official international and national data of the time period of 1994-2016. The competitiveness analysis included defining the characteristics, competitive strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. I also made suggestions to increase the profitability and competitiveness of the sector.

Global aquaculture production was 76.5 million tons in 2015, the European Union produced 1.7% of it. Hungary’s gross fish production is 20-30 thousand tons each year. In 2013, the global annual fish consumption per capita was 18.6 kg. It was an average of 22.5 kg in the European Union. The Hungarian fish consumption (5.1 kg) is way lower than this, it is the smallest amount in the EU! In spite of the low Hungarian consumption, the import values of aquatic animals are approximately ten times bigger than their export values. Mostly processed products are imported and live fish (mainly carp) is exported whose market is unsteady. The possibilities of international trade are highly affected by the animal health status of the country’s fish stock. Considering this, the Hungarian aquaculture sector is in a favourable position as it is officially free from the spring viraemia of carp.

The presence of an own feed base, multifunctionality, nature and environment protection and professional water management have positive influence on the competitiveness of the Hungarian aquaculture sector. However, for many fish pond farms the high investment or reconstruction costs, the seasonal employment peaks, the dependence on the weather and the small national consumer market are serious disadvantages.

The Hungarian pond fish farming is in a better situation compared to other animal breeding sectors concerning profitability. However, profitableness of Hungarian fish farms could significantly be increased by horizontal and vertical integration and the production of processed fish products, which would create the investment capital needed for the development of technology.

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