Kecel Május 1. tér 13.

Research results, summary, justification of the project and conclusion

The research carried out in the framework of the Cross-border Agrobusiness Development Program, under the serial number C-AGRO-Dev HUSRB / 1602/41/0167, aimed to reach a conclusion on the position of farmers in the region of Hungary and Serbia, through online questionnaires and by collecting secondary data. We managed to reach the target group from the region - young farmers and food producers - thanks to the end users of the project (beneficiaries): Viragdekor High School, Technical School and Faculty from Hungary, and the beneficiaries from Serbia - the Pro Scientia Naturae Foundation and the Technical School from Subotica. The researchers of these institutions have been very helpful in collecting data. The data was collected by using an online questionnaire of 45 questions. We considered the online questionnaire as the most effective and fastest way to examine the target group, and to protecting the environment in the same time. Hundreds of questionnaires were sent, from which we got back 112 filled out questionnaires.
In the context of the Modern Agricultural Academy that will be founded during this project and the the e-learning tools that will be developed, the most important conclusions of the research are the following:
71% of the respondents were younger than 45, which means that the majority of respondents belong to the target group of the research. The responses of the population older than 45 years were also useful for some of the conclusions of the research. Almost half of the respondents, 44% were women, which is very important, as one of the priorities of the C-AGRO-Dev project is that both sexes participate equally in the trainings in the field of agriculture.
31% of the respondents lacks education in the field of agriculture, 27% of the respondents participated in some courses in agriculture or food processing, which indicates the potential of the education that will be carried out within the project. It is particularly advantageous that the households of many respondents are in places with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants – these places usually offer fewer opportunities for employment and income – which will be covered by the project.
Almost half of the respondents from Hungary (48%) are primary agricultural producers, 35% are registered entrepreneurs, while 19% of the respondents perform activities within a limited liability company. The situation is similar among the respondents from Serbia: 74% of them perform activities within the family farm, compared to other forms of activity. Most farmers, 52% are engaged in fruit production, 44% are farmers, and 27% are engaged in vegetable production. When it comes to animal farming, 53% of the respondents have poultry, 29% of them have pigs and sheep, and 27% have cattle.
As far as the territory of the cultivated land is concerned, results show that 59% - the majority of respondents cultivate land that is less than 10 hectares in total. 61.6% of respondents cultivate their own land, while 32.3% deal with their own property and rented land at the same time.
From the data above we can conclude that the majority of farmers are small producers, and most respondents perform activities within the family enterprise - 58% of the respondents stated that within the family business other members of the household perform activities as well. They perform the activity on a relatively small land that in most of the cases belongs to them, and they have a smaller amount of domestic animals.
The statistics are very explicit and the results reflect the problem of research explained at the beginning of the study - 11% of the respondents use the benefits of greenhouses in order to protect the products from bad weather conditions and insects. This implicates that there are good preconditions for introducing closed and automated production systems during the project.
When it comes to environmental awareness, 27% of the respondents do not grow mostly or they do not grow exclusively in the traditional way, which means that they are using biological and natural protection for crops and plants. The remaining ¾ respondents should also be informed about sustainable agriculture, so that the lack of information would not be an obstacle while getting knew knowledge on the topic. It is extremely encouraging that 70% of the respondents recycle biological waste: 72% uses waste as a supplement for improving the quality of the land, while 53%, among other things, uses composts.
Using the questionnaire, we found out how many respondents use renewable energy sources while farming. Only 13% answered yes, which means that there is still a lot to be done in this field, as there is more and more public discussion about the benefits of using renewable energy, especially about the long-term viability of alternative energy sources. The C-AGRO-Dev project curriculum that deals with sustainable development, certainly will play a significant role in presenting sustainable opportunities.
If we want to locate the places where the products are sold accurately, we can say that 26% sell their products on the territory of their household, 22% in the local market, 14% through some of the cooperatives, also 14% wholesale and 5% retail. It is positive that 8% of respondents use online sales tools. 17% of respondents own some kind of quality assessment system, most often required by orderers. The teaching unit on entrepreneurship puts a lot of emphasis on modern, online tools, in order to expand sales opportunities and the list of clients.
18% of the producers are engaged in processing and packaging. The data clearly shows that there is potential in this field, because the processed, packaged products are generally easier to sell due to longer expire dates, they look more attractive, it is also possible to sell them out of season and it is easier to transport. Because of all the above, it is important to present the processing system within the project. The course of the Modern Agricultural Academy reveals a wide range of possibilities.
One group of questions was related to the use of modern technologies. Only 13% of the farmers use this type of technology, which tells us that the potentials are not fully utilized - one of the main goals of the C-AGRO-Dev Project is the introduction of these technologies and the presentation of how to use it. A little over the half of the respondents, 53% of them use software that supports production, 23% of the total respondents use automated production systems. We assume that the presentation of the metheorological station, which aims to protect plants from bad weather conditions, will be of great importance.
44% of respondents answered that if there was a way to finance the procurement of the mentioned technologies, and if trainings would be provided, they would be interested in acquiring one of the mentioned innovations. 42% said they “might be interested", while only 14% of the respondents categorically refused to consider purchasing.
In the context of the project it is also encouraging that 17% of the respondents rated their computer skills as excellent, while the vast majority (63%) answered that they are doing well in the world of computers. This implicates that the lack of knowledge itself will not be an obstacle in achieving the goals of the project. 19% of the respondents consider that they have fair knowledge in the mentioned area, while only 1 person has indicated that they have difficulty in using computers. When asked how often they use the Internet, expectedly 95% answered that they use it every day, 4% use the internet several times a week, while 2% use the network on a monthly basis. 82% of respondents use the Internet to maintain contacts and send e-mails, 65% use it to gain new knowledge by surfing, 55% read the news online, 48% use the internet for work, while 43% use it for entertainment: watching movies and listening to music. For us and the project it is a significant data that 36% of them use the Internet for learning, which means that online education is not completely unknown for them. Within the C-AGRO-Dev project, we create online learning tools, so the next question was to find out if they can imagine themselves learning online. 77% said they could, 16% said that they could "maybe" imagine themselves learning online. Only 6% were not open to this type of education. According to the statistics, the online tools that will be used within the project will be probably well accepted by the participants.
The 32th question was significant for the entire C-AGRO-Dev Project, as the answers indicate the topics that most of the respondents would be interested in during the project. 51% said they would be interested in modern agrotechnology, and the same number of respondents answered that they would be interested in learning about product processing. Sustainable development and renewable energies are on the third place with 46%, while 39% are interested in information about entrepreneurship.
The data supports the existence of the Modern Agricultural Academy, because half of the respondents are interested in the topics to be addressed during the project - getting acquainted with new technologies and trends, while almost the same number of respondents want to expand their knowledge in the field of renewable energies and sustainability, and just over a third of respondents want to learn about entrepreneurship.
The project goals are also supported by the fact that 79% of the farmers responded that additional education would be necessary.
The last questions gave the answer to the problems that farmers-entrepreneurs face. Among the most prominent were the following ones: sales, lack of skilled labour force, insecure investments, lack of financial resources, problems in administration, lack of economic equality, excessive use of pesticides.
At the very end we asked what could be done to improve agricultural entrepreneurship. We received a total of 40 responses to this question, out of which we highlight: more financial support, project competitions, investments, innovations, technological development, automatization, more knowledge, information about project competitions, expansion of the market, overcoming the problem of not having enough labour force.
By analysing the questionnaire, we managed to meet the objectives of the research: we got a clear picture of the positions, challenges and needs of the farmers and breeders from the region covered by the project. We also discovered that there is a great need for the contents offered by the Modern Agricultural Academy, and we found out what exactly they are interested in.
We believe that the C-AGRO-DEV project will be not only successful, but will also bring long-term benefits. It will serve the target group, but also the nature, without which neither humanity nor the planet could survive.


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