K. Szilágyi
Small fruit crops have a special place in Hungarian fruit-growing. The earliness of the fruits and their suitability for exporting, either fresh or processed, makes them much sought after. Nevertheless the area under small fruits has not increased in recent years because of the large requirement for labour; indeed the area of those crops which cannot be harvested mechanically has decreased. This decrease is most obvious in the state farms and cooperatives with the greatest mechanisation and productivity. The consequent loss of crop is made up to some extent by fruit from private plantations and specialised agricultural groups, which now provide half the total area under small fruits. In 1978 the area under commercial small fruit comprised 2800 ha of raspberries, 410 ha of gooseberries, 1650 ha blackcurrants, 720 ha of redcurrants and 1600 ha of strawberries. In 1978 26000 tons of raspberries were harvested, the biggest crop ever recorded.

In addition to the shortage of labour the unpredictable size of the crop and the lack of specialised machinery pose special problems. A recently established Small Fruit Growing System - Bernecebaráti, 1976 - may have a beneficial effect on the economics and mechanisation of small fruit growing. The production and distribution of high quality planting material, the widespread adoption of agrochemical products, and the coordination of marketing will possibly be solved with the help of the Growing System. Selection of soils more suitable for growing small fruits, and the improvement of nutrients and water supply are essential to the future development of Hungarian small fruit production. At present about 5 per cent of the growing area is irrigated.

Up to the present time mechanical harvesting has been successful only in currants, with the English Pattenden machine. Promising results have also been obtained with two home-made prototype machines, BGB-1 and RKB-1. High built tractors are considered to be the most suitable for the cultivation of currants and raspberries but they are scarcely to be found on Hungarian farms.

Important progress has been made with problems concerning cultivars. The most important raspberry variety is Malling Exploit but there is also a small acreage of Nagymarosi, a traditional local cultivar with good quality fruit. Leading varieties of strawberry are Gorella and Pocahontas. Among blackcurrant varieties, Fertodi 1, Altaiskaya, Silvergieter F 59, Wellington XXX and

Szilágyi, K. (1980). SMALL FRUIT CULTIVATION IN HUNGARY. Acta Hortic. 95, 21-22
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1980.95.1