Building ponds to store water for ongoing fresh produce and other essential agricultural production has become a priority for farmers in Hungary, just like in the rest of Europe. Demand for ponds is skyrocketing as growers across Europe experience more frequent record heat waves and droughts during hotter, drier summers. Heavy intense downpours, especially in spring, also lead to flash floods more often.
“Hungary is experiencing exactly the same problems that affect farms around the world: unpredictable weather conditions and extremes are becoming common occurrences. This means that farmers cannot rely on decades of knowledge and experience from the past, our words about the weather are no longer as relevant as they were 20 years ago. In addition, farmers face very long dry spells and extreme rainfall at other times. This forces farmers to think of water as our earliest ancestors of animal hunting: they should catch as much water as they can when it is available and use it wisely when needed,” says Gergely Toro , CEO of Creatiger Kft. in Hungary.
He has responded to these trends by expanding his business, which manufactures pond liners to meet the growing pond needs across the country, but also in the rest of Europe. He, along with his brother Attila, began manufacturing and supplying watertight pond liners that allow growers to install ponds much faster and at a lower cost.
Agricultural land affected by drought exceeds 550,000 hectares
Minister Zsolt Feldman, State Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, is also concerned about water management and climate adaptation for the Hungarian agricultural sector. At a recent meeting between him and insurance companies in Hungary, he said the area of drought-affected farmland exceeded 550,000 hectares in mid-July.
István Jakab, president of the Association of Hungarian Farmers and Farmers’ Cooperatives, recently told a major agricultural conference that farmers need to apply adaptation strategies: “The cornerstones of the strategy are, among others , water retention, provision of soil life, use and erosion protection to ensure long-term land, water and air security, otherwise they will suffer serious short-term losses.
As a manufacturer of new, efficient pond liners, Toro says Creatiger is receiving an increasing number of inquiries. “We have built hundreds of ponds of different sizes and for different purposes over the years and we see a growing interest in new builds. We tend to have 5-10 projects in our pipeline on a monthly basis. As pressure mounts on farmers to protect their incomes, interest in building huge ponds is growing by around 10-20% year on year. Pond construction becomes especially important for fruit and vegetable growers as they can solve two problems at once with this investment. First, there is the simple answer to collect and conserve water for irrigation, second, this water can be very helpful in preventing frost damage. By using sprinklers to irrigate plants, farmers can prevent frost damage by using the energy the water releases when it freezes, so the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing.
“In our factory, we manufacture the required waterproof liner to measure, up to 4000-5000 m2 of large panels, in one piece. This allows local producers to install the sheets themselves, saving time and money from pre-made liners.If professional help is needed for even larger ponds, Creatiger will work with you for a quick and efficient installation.Growers are now forced to build more ponds and save money. water as much as they can in the winter, as well as during times of flash floods. Unlike in the past, there is no longer abundant water available. We have seen different types of fruit growers, such as apples, pears, cherries and table grapes across Hungary, use our waterproof coating and install ponds in record time. Demand is growing every day with many enquiries,” says Toro .
Aim to expand across Europe and beyond
Toro says Creatiger’s aim is to expand into the rest of Europe and make the waterproof liner more cost-effective yet durable available to more farmers across the block. “In this way, we aim to contribute to water savings as well as meet the growing need for a healthier food culture. As we see a high demand for pond construction, we are building relationships with contractors and installers everywhere, even outside of Europe, who are looking to speed up their work, reduce costs and do more projects.We provide workshops, technical support and prefabricated fittings (pipe bundles, corners) for those unfamiliar with HDPE woven liners. As such, we have built a training area in our factory, which we use to teach techniques and provide hands-on experience to our customers,” concludes Toro.