History of OMÉK

Back in the past OMÉK was known by a different name which was "Országos Mezőgazdasági Kiállítás és Tenyészállatvásár" (National Agriculture Exhibition and Breeding Animal Fair). It was only in 1970 when the event's name was changed to "Országos Mezőgazdasági és Élelmiszeripari Kiállítás" (National Agriculture and Food Exhibition) and the acronym OMÉK became a trademark. 

But regardless of its name the main goal of OMÉK has always been to give a comprehensive picture of the full vertical spectrum of agriculture. OMÉK is the perfect event to bring the different branches of agriculture (including administration, different subsidization systems, food safety etc.) closer to the public in the most coordinated way.

Since the early stages shows which were centered around cultivation have been in the center of attention in the different events and fairs. Not just the developing cultivation technology shows, but the plant breeding, pest control and fertilization shows also take advantage of the full framework of the national exhibitions when they present their achievements to the farmers and to those who were interested.

Wine and viticultural exhibitors are also given a chance to present their newest achievements to the public along with the famous Hungarian wines of course. Initially the wine, viticulture and horticultural exhibitions reflected the agricultural nature of the country. Hungary has always been a great horticultural and viticultural power. Even in the 19th century the country was famous for the quality and content value of its wine products. These products were generally produced in smaller workshops, and because of this a great variety of wines were introduced by the production areas and wine-growing regions. Naturally, extensive production also played a crucial part in viticulture; therefore the fairs and exhibitions introduced not just wine products made by the smaller workshops of certain wine-growing regions, but also products that were made in large-scale production. In the second half of the 20th century the industrial production technology and engineering development started to become more and more popular at the exhibitions. At the present time labor intensive factors and family businesses came to the front accompanied by the nowadays popular bio and eco products, along with the possibilities of medicinal plant cultivation and the answers to the challenges of globalization.

Forestry and water management, in connection with fishing and hunting possibilities, became popular both at the independent exhibitions and at OMÉK as well. After World War I Hungary lost 72 percent of its territories which resulted in a drastic decrease of the forested area. Because of this loss forestation became a top priority. At first hunting was introduced jointly with forestry at the exhibitions. But after some time hunting became an independent branch at the exhibitions because the independent hunting trophy exhibitions came to the front. Nowadays, besides hunting and fishing the exhibitions also put emphasis on the protection of our nature, which attracts even more people to the agricultural events.

Animal husbandry and its different sub-branches have always played a crucial part in the structure of our agriculture. In the 19th century in Hungary sheep husbandry was a top priority and the best Hungarian sheep breeders of the time was achieved great success in Vienna's World Fair held in 1873. In the mid-1950s sheep husbandry stepped up to the high standard of the collective farms. Pig farming also plays a big part at the national exhibitions. For example, at the 75th Jubilee OMÉK the ministerial prize was won by a heavy weight ISV Pannonhybrid pig, which was raised by Imre Szpisják from Kenderes. The exhibitions helped greatly the introduction of the race hybrids and gave boost to the presentation of the breeding achievements. These tendencies can be seen at the present day exhibitions as well. The Mangalitza, the once popular pig breed which was superseded by the hybrid breeds due to intensive developments, has captured the attention of the public and the exhibitions again. The Hungarian cattle were already the focus of attention at the 1829 animal exhibition. At the end of the 19th century the proportion of the western cattle breed was between 50 and 80 percent at the exhibitions. After World War I the Hungarian cattle livestock decreased by 70 percent. It is obvious that the cattle breeding is an ailing branch of the agriculture, and its situation just became worse after 1948 when the animal husbandry organizations got disbanded. At first the Hungarian Spotted Cattle was the dominant breed in the era of collective farms and state farms, but in the 70s the Holstein-Friesian breed gained ground and became the dominant cattle. The Hungarian horse exhibitions and horse races became popular in the 19th century with the help of Count István Széchenyi and Baron Miklós Wesselényi. In the 19th century horse breeding was more than important because people used horses in many areas of life, such as transport, sports, agriculture and warfare. Of course, in the age of modernization these animals lost ground to automobiles and different machines which were designed to replace horses in the long run. It's no wonder that the last big horse exhibition was held in 1970. But thanks to the sport horse industry a certain comeback was experienced at OMÉK in 1985.

The exhibitors of agricultural machines and equipments are intent on presenting the latest technological innovations at the exhibitions. This way the process of modernization can be easily followed by the visitors.

At first food industry had only a marginal role at the exhibitions and fairs as most of the emphasis was put on animal, machinery and equipment shows. However, due to the increasing standard of living food industry was getting a bigger emphasis at the exhibitions. The standard of living in any era was well-reflected by the feedbacks of the visitors and by the developments, innovations, new technologies introduced at the exhibitions and. Nowadays food industry gave top priority to other branches, such as food safety and health preservation. This way it signs the change of attitude that can be experienced at the present time.

Of course this previous overview is just a mere sketch about the potentials that lie in our exhibitions. The opportunities that lie ahead are boundless and we encourage our exhibitors to take up these opportunities. Let us make these exhibitions better together by introducing the latest and the best technological advancements and products to the public.

The spirit of innovation lives on at the National Agriculture and Food Exhibitions (OMÉK) and you can be part of this special event to witness the latest innovations of agriculture and food industry.