Imre Ferto's Lab

About the lab

Our research areas can be divided into following fields: (a) International agricultural trade (b) Vertical co-ordination in agri-food sectors, dealing with the horizontal and vertical cooperation within various agri-food chain (c) The analysis of agricultural prices and markets. (d) Productivity and efficiency in agriculture (e) Rural development issues (e) Economics of biodiversity (f) Supply chain and network performance and relationships (g) local food.

Featured projects (1)

The research investigates systematically the impacts of agricultural policy on the regional dimensions of structural changes in Hungarian and Slovenian agriculture. The proposal focuses on the following issues. First, we analyze the drivers of farm growth at farm level taking into account regional aspects. Second, we study entry and exit strategy of farms with special empasis on the impacts of agricultural policy. Third, we study the effects of agricultural policy on farm employment. Fourth, we investigate the effects of agricultural policy on farm income inequality. Fifth, we analyze the agglomeration effects in Hungarian and Slovenian agriculture in various subbranches.

Featured research (13)

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has unprecedentedly affected consumer behaviour. This paper reflects on changes in food consumption, buying, and training (working out) habits using a representative sample of 1000 Hungarian consumers and identifies consumer segments with unique needs based on personal sources of motivation. The widely known Schwartz Portrait Value Questionnaire was used to characterize individual value profiles. Employing k-medians clustering, three clusters were identified. “Business-as-usual People” managed to maintain their daily routines. The frequency of buying local food decreased the least among them. The sedentary lifestyle of the next cluster, “Inactive savers”, appears to have been accompanied by a lower level of food intake. Accordingly, this group was possibly less subject to the negative impacts of obesity, but more in need of psychological support to avoid devastating mental health outcomes. The third cluster initially appeared to encompass “Couch Potatoes” based on their COVID-induced lifestyles. However, the analysis of the value portraits of the latter showed that they were not couch potatoes at all, but rather active and proactive “Stay-at-home Businesspeople” who may benefit from guidance regarding how to manage the increase in housekeeping and childcare, and how to become more physically active in the home environment. The results are valuable from both a scientific and practical perspectives.
This paper investigates the impact of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies on farm employment in Hungary and Slovenia. Econometric models were estimated separately for total farm labor, family labor, and hired labor. We find that total subsidies and, within these, Pillar I subsidies, have positive effect on farm employment of paid labor in Hungary and family labor in Slovenia. Irrespective of the country and type of employment, farm employment is significantly positively associated with farm size. Mixed results are found for Pillar II and investment subsidies. Rural development measures with agri-environmental and less favored area subsidies, and investment subsidies are particularly important for the family farm labor in Slovenia, but not for the paid labor, neither the family farm labor in Hungary. The impact of control regional labor market variables is mixed between the employment of family farm and paid labor within and between the analyzed countries. A strong link between main type of farm employment, different types of CAP subsidies and farm size suggests on the importance of CAP subsidies for maintaining of farm employment and job creation for young and unemployed, and land use policy. This might explain farmers political demand for status quo with only minor CAP subsidy changes, with raising society awareness on monitoring of effective and efficient use of subsidies.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused unprecedented disruption to the global food distribution network (Barrett, 2020; Hobbs, 2020; Torero, 2020). Although the major impact, with the exception of those who suffered from medical issues, appeared to be economic (Béné, 2020; Laborde et al., 2020), the spread of COVID intensified existing concerns regarding the (un)sustainability of the global food system, potential threats to food security (of the poor, mostly) and to the resilience of local food system actors (Béné, 2020; Laborde et al., 2020; Swinnen, 2020; Volpato et al., 2020). Many authors consider the COVID-related situation as a real-time experiment concerning the sustainability transition (Bodenheimer & Leidenberger, 2020; Cohen, 2020), with a special focus on local food systems and short food supply chains (SFSCs). These alternative systems may fulfil a number of roles and functions and include a diversity of actors as well as marketing channels, making them reliable elements of the food system in terms of maintaining operations, compared to the relatively small number of transnational agro-food enterprises (Hendrickson, 2015; Lamine, 2015; Tendall et al., 2015). A consensus seems to be evolving about their importance during COVID (Blay-Palmer et al., 2020; Boons et al., 2020; Cummins et al., 2020; Swinnen, 2020). Individuals and local networks are hypothesised to be able to adapt more easily and rapidly to changing conditions than larger ones (Cabell & Oelofse, 2012). On the other hand, heterogeneous responses were reported by the grey literature and the media, and concerns have been formulated by many authors that many SFSC producers faced challenges accessing the market due to lockdown measures and social distancing and/or labour shortages (Holden, 2020; Torero, 2020). In fact, solid empirical evidence about the actual strategies, opportunities and responses of small-scale producers employed to take advantage of the current situation (or at least moderate its impacts) is still lacking. The aim of this article is to document early, first-wave COVID-19 impacts experienced by smallscale food producers in Hungary and to differentiate some of their early responses. In presenting empirical data, this work contributes to filling a knowledge gap about the actual reaction of small-scale farmers to the market-related disruptions caused by the pandemic, not only in terms of economic outcomes, but also in relation to strategic decision-making and behavioural-attitudinal transformations. The concept of resilience was used to build a framework. The related literature is reviewed in the following section.
Általános feltevés, hogy a helyi élelmiszerek értékesítése pozitív hatással van a helyi gazdaság teljesítményére. Cikkünkben megvizsgáljuk, hogy az eddigi kutatások mennyiben támasztják alá ezt a vélekedést. A ScienceDirect, Wiley Online Library, Taylor and Francis Online, SpringerLink, AgECON, Emerald és Sage adatbázisban fellelhető, 2000 és 2019 között publikált, angol nyelvű folyóiratcikkek kerültek szisztematikus áttekintésre. Emellett kiegészítő keresést végeztünk a Google Tudós keresőmotor felhasználásával. A téma jellegénél fogva több szinonima figyelembe vételével végeztük az adatgyűjtést, ami adatbázisonként 42-féle kulcsszavas keresést eredményezett. A multiplikátor hatás négyféle tényezőjére: a kibocsátási, a hozzáadott érték, a jövedelmi, valamint a foglalkoztatási multiplikátorra vonatkozóan kerestünk információkat. Az első körben beválogatott 14 819 cikk közül mindössze 25 felelt meg a kutatási kritériumoknak. 24 közlemény szerint a helyi élelmiszerek iránti kereslet növekedése pozitív hatást gyakorolt a multiplikátor hatás valamely mutatójára, de 6 esetben más mutató esetében már nem tudtak ilyen kedvező hatást kimutatni. Egy tanulmány pedig egyik tényező esetében sem talált összefüggést. Eredményeink szerint a helyi élelmiszerek pozitív hatása leginkább a foglalkoztatásban és a jövedelmek növekedésében megfigyelhető, míg a kibocsátási és a hozzáadott érték multiplikátorok megjelenése sokkal inkább helyzetfüggő, nehezen vagy nem kimutatható. A jelenleg használt módszerek legtöbbjénél továbbá kisebb-nagyobb felülbecslés is feltételezhető. A helyi élelmiszerek helyi gazdaságra gyakorolt valós hatásának méréséhez további kutatásokra van szükség.
This paper explores to what extent product and marketing channel diversification contributed to the economic success of small-scale agricultural producers involved in short food supply chains after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey was conducted between April and July 2020 in four countries of the European Union-Estonia, Hungary, Portugal and Romania,-resulting in a relatively large sample of farmers (N = 421). The analysis was built on a semi-nonparametric approach. Approximately 19 percent of small-scale producers were able to increase sales during the first wave of the pandemic, although country-level variation was significant. Fruits and vegetables were by far the most popular products. The importance of specific channels varied across countries, but farm gate sales were among the most important marketing channels both before and during the first wave. The importance of channels that were based on digital resources and home delivery increased. Our evidence indicates that diversification was a strategy that paid off, both in terms of marketing channels and different product categories. However, the impact appears to be nonlinear; the initial advantage generated by diversification rapidly tapered off, either temporarily (in the case of products), or permanently (in the case of marketing channels). Later research may clarify whether these findings are generalizable in other socio-economic contexts, as well as in a non-COVID situation.

Lab head

Imre Ferto
  • Institute of Economics
About Imre Ferto
  • Imre Fertő is the director general of the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies and the professor at the Hungarian University of Agricultural and Life Sciences. His work focuses on the international agricultural trade, efficiency analysis in agriculture, local food and agricultural policy analysis, agglomeration effects in agri-food sectors. He is the co-editor of Eurochoices.

Members (7)

Zoltán Bakucs
  • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Gusztáv Nemes
  • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Szilard Podruzsik
  • Centre for Economic and Regional Studies
Zsófia Benedek
  • Centre for Economic and Regional Studies (CERS) Hungary
Lajos Barath
  • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Éva Orbán
  • Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Enikő Vígh
  • AKI Institute of Agricultural Economics