Hungary's changing climate fosters exotic fruit growth
Pablo Gutierrez in Budapest
Central European farmers are embracing the cultivation of fruits traditionally foreign to the region. Experts note that countries like Hungary are increasingly experiencing Mediterranean-style climates, enabling the growth of bananas, kiwis, and pomegranates, typically associated with warmer nations.
Establishing a kiwi farm in Hungary was considered implausible not long ago, but Akos Miklos, a Hungarian kiwi farmer, defied skepticism and pursued his dream. Miklos, who embarked on this journey unassisted, recounted to CGTN: "It was really hard at the beginning to convince the professionals and the authorities that it is possible."
Miklos's farm, situated in southern Hungary near the Croatian border, benefits from a consistent rise in temperatures attributed to climate change. Hungary's annual average temperature has increased by 1.15°C since the early 1970s.
According to Mate Janos Litkei, Director of Hungary's Climate Policy Institute: "The sunny days, the hot days will get more frequent in this region, so the conditions for these Mediterranean plants or foods to grow will be better." Today, Miklos's kiwi farm is Hungary's largest, producing over 40 tons last year, with the climate, elevation, and soil contributing to its success.
Changing climate conditions in Hungary are also enabling people to cultivate tropical fruits at home. Istvanne Dekany and her husband planted a banana palm tree a few years ago, initially with modest expectations. However, to their surprise, the tree began bearing fruit.
Dekany noted: "Times have changed, we live in a different reality. The temperatures during the winter and summer are not as they used to be, and now bananas can grow in parts of the world where they didn't before." Their banana palm tree yields three to four bunches annually, with experts attributing this shift to global warming, transforming Hungary's climate from continental to Mediterranean, allowing the growth of tropical fruits.
Meanwhile, Miklos is diversifying his kiwi farm by introducing other exotic fruits such as pomegranates, figs, and Indian bananas. What was once deemed impossible in Hungary is now becoming a reality.