Ireland’s pesticide purchases plummet by 28%

Ireland reduced its pesticide sales by 28% from 2011 to 2018 according to data from Eurostat. Ireland had the second largest reduction in sales overall; Portugal topped the list with a reduction of 43%.

14 member states had complete data available for 2011 and 2018. However, not all decreased their pesticide sales.

In the same period many countries increased their sales, including: Germany; France; and Austria. Cyprus increased its sales by 94%, while Austria increased sales by 53% and France and Germany increased sales by 39% and 2% respectively.

Image source: Eurostat

The Farm to Fork Strategy announced by the EU Commission on May 20 aims to reduce pesticide use by 50% by 2030 across the EU.

AgriLand understands that the reduction of 50% will be based on a reduction from 2018, the latest figures show. However, there are some important points to note.

The data includes sales of all pesticides. This would include those used in agriculture, but also by gardeners, on golf courses, local authorities and for amenity use.

So the reduction should come from all sectors, not just agriculture.

A question this data has raised is will countries who have already made a significant decrease in the use of pesticides, like Ireland, be treated any differently to those which have increased their pesticide use in recent years?

Pesticide sales 2018

France, Spain, Italy and Germany accounted for two-thirds of the pesticide sales in the EU in 2018.

These four countries are the main agricultural producers in the EU and according to Eurostat represent 51% of the total EU utilised agricultural area and 49% of the total EU arable land.

As can be seen in the graph below France had the highest sales of pesticides from the data collected in 2018. The graph shows pesticide sales in millions of kilogrammes.

Image source: Eurostat

What products were purchased?

Data from Eurostat shows that, in 2018, 45% of the pesticides sold in the EU fell into the category of fungicides and bactericides.

Herbicides, haulm destructors and moss killers accounted for 32% of sales while insecticides and acaricides accounted for 11% of the sales.

In Ireland, the sales of products differed to the overall trend in Europe. Herbicides were by far the most popular sellers in Ireland. The table below shows the amount of pesticides sold in Ireland in tonnes.

Pesticides refers to plant protection products, and covers the following categories: fungicides and bactericides; herbicides, haulm destructors and moss killers; insecticides and acaricides; molluscicides; plant growth regulators; and other plant protection products.