The region

Prof. Dr. Károly Pető
University of Debrecen

Dr. Harangi-Rákos Mónika
University of Debrecen

About the Living Lab

Located in the North Great Plain Region, the Living Lab will explore how to improve the performance of SMEs located in rural areas, by involving farmers, advisors and researchers to develop solutions together and encourage SMEs to fully use digital opportunities.

The North Great Plain region is a key strategic area for Hungarian agricultural development. 22% of the agricultural area is located here, making it the second among the Hungarian regions. The natural endowments of the region are favourable for agriculture. Based on the number of cities, the Northern Great Plain region is one of the most urbanised regions in Hungary. The region has unique natural values, it is home to Hungary’s first protected natural area, the Great Forest of Debrecen and the first national park of Hungary, the Hortobágy National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The use of precision instruments has been low in Hungary and in the North Great Plain region recently, but the demand for digitalisation has increased significantly in recent decades. New trends have not avoided agriculture either. In addition to profit maximization, digitalisation can also contribute to reducing the environmental impact, which enhances its role. Nevertheless, there are significant deficiencies in digitalisation across Europe, especially in Hungary. Regardless of the size and area of activity of the farms, there is room for the application of modern technologies.

Overall, it can be said that without precision farming, there will be no renewed Hungarian agriculture.

Living Lab coordinator: University of Debrecen (UNIDEB)

Domain: Rural, Agriculture

Focal questions

What factors influence the spread of precision technologies?

What role does the spread of digitalisation have in the labour retention capacity of rural areas?

  • Building a network of Hungarian experts for digital technology in agriculture.

  • Identification of the positive and negative social, economic and environmental impacts of digital technologies.

    Precision farming continues to be a breakthrough as technologies and management techniques continue to evolve alongside the digitiser. Digitalisation has an impact on social and institutional relationships, which are increasingly demanding and dependent on digital technologies. Digital technologies can have both positive and negative social, economic and environmental impacts in rural areas. In Hungary, the most important factor that continues to influence the method of precision farming is the lack of a skilled workforce. In a global sense, rising production costs also have a strong impact, they pose higher expenses for farmers, thus major investments in new technologies (including precision farming) may be delayed or not implemented.

  • Identification of the needs, opportunities and challenges of farmers and exploration of the factors that provide a solution.

Main stakeholders
  • National authorities: Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture

  • Local public authority: Government Office of Hajdú-Bihar County; County departments for agriculture

  • Farmers’ organisation: members of local communities (small, medium and large farmers)

  • Non-government organisations: LEADER Local Action Groups; local NGOs

  • Education institutions: University of Debrecen

Key documents

Policy brief: Economic and social impacts in rural areas

National Policy Analysis: Hungary

Practice Abstract: Digitalisation in the North Great Plain region

Digital Stories