Portugal a member state of the European Union (EU) has recorded the greatest reduction in sales and use of agrochemicals, between 2011 and 2018, registering a drop of 43%.
This data was released by Eurostat, the EU's statistical service, which published a EU fact sheet on the consumption of agri-environmental indicators for pesticides, for the period mentioned above.
According to the article, during the period 2011-2018, sales of pesticides remained more or less stable, hovering around 360,000 tonnes per year in the EU. However, 3% of the total sales volume is confidential and is therefore not included, making comparisons difficult.
Eurostat noted that, between 2011 and 2018, only complete data are available for all major product groups in 14 Member States, of which eight - Portugal, Ireland, Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania and Hungary - decreased their total pesticide sales. Portugal recorded the largest decrease, of 43%, followed by Ireland (-28%) and the Czech Republic (-27%).
In turn, the largest increase in sales of pesticides was recorded in Cyprus (+ 94%), followed by Austria (+53%), France (+39%) and Slovakia (+38%). The indicator is evaluated according to the volumes sold and the statistics presented refer exclusively to the quantities sold for the different categories of pesticides.
In this way, the group “Fungicides and bactericides” was the best-selling pesticide group in the EU in 2018. Only Germany, Spain, France and Italy registered more than two-thirds of the total pesticide sales volume, both in 2011 and 2018. In addition, these countries represent 51% of the total agricultural area used and 49% of the European Union's arable land.
The analysis showed that in 2011, the 14 EU Member States recorded sales of 245,028 tons of active pesticidal substances and, in 2018, recorded 245,604 tons, which is a slight increase of 0.2%. It is also important to note that many of the most dangerous substances have had their marketing authorization revoked and have been withdrawn from the market under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 on the placing of plant protection products on the market.
While Ireland, the Czech Republic and Italy recorded sales of pesticides lower by more than 20% in 2018, Cyprus, Austria, France and Slovakia reported significantly higher sales of pesticides in 2018 than in 2011.
Eurostat also presented the products sold by categories, which allows us to conclude that in 2018 the highest volume sales were recorded in the “Fungicides and Bactericides” (45%), followed by “Herbicides” (32%) and “Insecticides and Acaricides” (11%).
In 2018, most of the “fungicides and bactericides” sold in the EU were inorganic fungicides, which composed copper, inorganic sulfur and other inorganic fungicides. The majority (53.1%) of the total registered fungicide sales were inorganic, copper and sulfur compounds which are also allowed for use in organic farming.