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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the inauguration of the Viresol Kft. wheat processing plant

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for having invited me here. It’s good to not only see the evidence of Hungary’s progress in statistics, but also in the real world of the here and now. I don’t think we should be at all reserved in our praise for this project. If I’ve been correctly informed, the nearest processing plant of this size is located in Austria, but that one manufactures fewer products. Meanwhile in our region there is a comparable factory somewhere in the Czech Republic, and I hope that – in the spirit of V4 cooperation – sooner or later there will be some kind of collaboration with it.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s no exaggeration to say that this wheat processing plant, which has grown in the shadow of the Mátra Power Station, is another milestone for the Hungarian food industry. This facility will assist grain processing in Hungary to enter an entirely different dimension: this plant will annually process 250,000 tonnes of GMO-free wheat, exclusively sourced from domestic suppliers, with world-class environmentally friendly technology and zero waste. Hungarian wheat exports, Ladies and Gentlemen, amount to around 1.5 to 2.5 million tonnes a year – depending on how kindly the weather treats us. This volume places Hungary among the world’s major wheat exporters, and is something that we have every reason to be proud of – particularly when we consider the size and population of our country. Well, in a year with a good crop, this plant will be able to process a quarter of a million tonnes of wheat – or one tenth of the wheat intended for export. Hungary is a country with a great agricultural past and a recognised culture of farming. The prices of raw grain exports, however, are highly exposed to price fluctuations in the world market. For farmers this means that although their produce may be of the highest quality, they may not be able to sell it at the right price. It is therefore important to have plants where we can process grain into products with a higher added value. Thus we will be far less exposed to the vagaries of the world market. The goal, Ladies and Gentlemen, is for as little wheat as possible to leave Hungary in its raw form.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We know ourselves: we know that we Hungarians are sometimes obstinate, and that there are questions on which we will not yield an inch. One of these questions is that of zero GMOs. Today this is a matter of fierce debate both globally and in Hungary, and it not only relates to major economic interests, but also to food safety. We Hungarians decided that we do not want to see genetically modified food products on the shelves in our shops. This factory guarantees that. It is also important that wheat starch – which contains no gluten – can be manufactured in this wheat processing plant in large quantities. Those who know this problem are well aware of the burdens it places on those affected – not only in terms of health, but also financially. The production of gluten-free wheat starch is important because there is a continuously expanding market, and even more important is the fact that this product can make life easier for many of our fellow humans. In addition to providing jobs for 250 people, this Viresol plant will also be one of Europe’s most modern factories in its sector. In the future we will need many more businesses like this: courageous and enterprising businesses which will successfully refine the best foreign technologies, and which will consequently also become a source and leader of domestic development and innovation. There’s no point in beating about the bush: the world – and we Hungarians within it – have entered a new technological era, in which changes may fundamentally transform the economy and the labour market. These innovations are dictating an incredible pace, and only those countries which are able to maintain that pace will stay the course. In light of this project, we have reason to say that the village of Visonta and the people living in and around it will definitely stay the course. Our goal is to develop the most advanced, cutting-edge technologies here in Hungary so that we can then use these technologies ourselves. We not only have to keep up with others, but in as many fields as possible we must dictate the pace. I can tell you that in this respect we’re not doing badly: today the digital economy accounts for almost one quarter – 23 per cent – of the total Hungarian gross domestic product.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a first step, the Government declared this project a priority for the national economy, and then provided it with funding of 6.2 billion forints. And we would give even more: we would also provide funds for projects in other towns and villages around the country if there were more plans and a more widespread spirit of enterprise. You heard me right: this is an invitation to dance! Today it is not a lack of money that limits the development and modernisation of the Hungarian economy, but much more the lack of a spirit of enterprise and viable, ambitious, serious plans which are internationally competitive.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I sincerely hope that this is not the last time we will meet here. I sincerely hope that there will be other agricultural developments – by the owners of this plant or other entrepreneurs in the region – which will prompt us to gather together and celebrate. Finally I would like to thank everyone who worked on the realisation of this plant: the engineers, the workers, and also the owners. God bless every resident of Visonta and its surroundings neighbourhood.

Thank you for your attention.