The European Commission has published the latest figures relating to Farm to Fork pesticide-reduction targets, and while progress is being made, the pace needs to pick up, it said.

Under the Farm to Fork Strategy, the commission is committed to work towards reducing the overall use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030.

To track the progress towards meeting these targets, the commission, each year, publishes figures on the use and risk of chemical pesticides in the EU.

Chemical pesticides less used

For 2020, the figures show that chemical pesticides are less used, overall, with a lower associated risk.

The use and risk of chemical pesticides declined by 1% compared to 2019, and by 14% compared to the baseline period (2015-2017).

Chemical pesticides cause soil, water and air pollution, as well as biodiversity loss, and have negative impact on human health and the environment.

The figures also show that the more hazardous pesticides are used significantly less. They declined by 9% compared to 2019, and by 26% compared to the baseline period.

This marks the second consecutive year with a meaningful reduction, while at the same time, the EU keeps its global position of a prime exporter of food products, a commission spokesperson said.

Pesticide-reduction pace

While progress is steady and ongoing, its pace is still not fast enough, however.

Member states need to do more to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides as called for by scientists and citizens, according to the Commission.

Data also show that the uptake of low-risk and biological alternatives to chemical pesticides is still very low.

The commission is, therefore, updating rules and financing projects to help increase the availability of these alternatives.

In addition, the commission said it will adopt new rules on the sustainable use of pesticides shortly to help member states achieve the targets set out in the Farm to Fork strategy.