Drawbacks of the socialist large-scale agricultural production
László Péter, 1943. Budapest After his birth the family moved to Czechoslovakia, which belong to Hungary at that time. After the war they were deported from the village called Gula to South-East Hungary due to population exchange treaty. His father was a doctor. Later they moved to Budapest. After secondary school he studied at the University of Debrecen where he graduated as agricultural engineer. He worked at several collective farms which were introduced by the beggining of the communist dictatorship. He remembers talking to former peasants who were forced into these collective farms by torture and beating. He started working in one of the biggest collective farms in Hungary in the neighborhood of village Hernád. Its main profile was poultry breeding. He introduced 3 different innovation there. The collective farm exported poultry to Switzerland (in better quality) and to USSR (in bigger quantity). He never joined to communist party therefore never has been pointed for a leading position. In his opinion the very most of collective farms - on which the Hungarian agriculture was based during the communist period - did not operate efficiently at all. In most cases even their booking was fake. In the enviroment determined by central instructed system and fixed prices only 10-15 % of these collective farms were successful. He points out that one of the biggest problem was that the employees were not interested in increasing the production at all. In 1968 they visited the Netherlands on a worktrip. The following year just before their planned departure for Western Europe his passport was held back. A few weeks later an inspector form the police visited him at his workplace. He was questioned about his previous journey. As it turned out he became suspicious because during that visit he was having a coffee at a terrace where besides others there were some American soldiers. Althought they did not change a word, someone from the Hungarian crew reported this to the Interior Ministry. On the other hand he became suspecious for his bride who is Hungarian from the minority living in Czechoslovakia. Additionally, in his wife‘s university class studied a Belgian student, one of their friends. This details were enough to blame him for „keeping up contact with foreign women“ which ended up in holding his passport back for 3 years. He refers to the fact that by he time of the system transition in 1990 many former leader of productive cooperatives managed to take over privatized soil and forests. I recalls how one of these former leader managed this: often visited smallholder members of the collective farms by night, knocked on their door to scare them. Then the former (in most cases communist) leader bought compensation tickets from them for cash. In this way ended up as an owner of bigger, related territories.