The world’s agriculture faces many challenges nowadays, such as tackling the effects of climate change, conserving agrobiodiversity, or feeding the Earth’s growing population. These issues often induce conflicting development directions, such as digitalization and ecologization, as the case of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) shows. In the last decades, policymakers have focused mainly on greening agricultural production and the food industry, and now the CAP is part of the European Green Deal. In our research, we assessed the sustainability problems affecting the agribusiness sector and food consumption in Hungary using descriptive statistical analysis. On the other hand, we examined the latest sectoral development documents (Digital Agricultural Strategy, Digital Food Industry Strategy) in order to find out to what extent they answer the identified issues.
Our results revealed that the Hungarian agribusiness sector is struggling with several sustainability challenges, which do not receive adequate attention from policymakers. The newest development strategies are characterized by forced digitalization efforts, while their applicability and effectiveness are uncertain. Because of similar development trajectories, we believe most of our results are relevant to other Central Eastern European Member states. Hence, further CAP and national policy reforms are needed to make Europe’s agribusiness sector more sustainable.
Keywords: sustainability; digitalization; ecologization; agribusiness development; Hungary