Latvia's use of pesticides has risen sharply

Latvia's use of pesticides in farming has increased more than any other country in the European Union for which data are available, according to Eurostat statistics published May 2.

The 16 EU Member States for which data are available for all the major groups recorded a combined 7% decrease in tonnes of pesticide active substances sold in 2020 (233 509 tonnes) compared with 2011 (251 868 tonnes).

Just over two thirds (67%) of the total EU sales of pesticides in 2020 were accounted for by these 16 countries.

Between 2011 and 2020, 11 of the 16 Member States with available data recorded lower sales of pesticides. The sharpest decline was recorded in Czechia (-38%). Portugal, Denmark, Romania, Belgium and Ireland also reported sales that were at least 20% lower in 2020 than in 2011.

In contrast, Austria (+61%) and Latvia (+77%) reported significantly higher sales of pesticides in 2020 than in 2011. 

However, Eurostat did also say: "It should be noted that the volumes of pesticides sold in Latvia in absolute terms are very low" while in Austria, large volumes of inert gases used in the storage of agricultural products inflate the total volume of pesticides sold.

Between 2011 and 2020, sales of pesticides in the EU remained relatively stable with the total volume sold annually fluctuating ± 6% around the 350 000 tonnes level. In 2020, a bit less than 346 000 tonnes were sold. 

In terms of pesticides sold, the highest sales volumes in 2020 were for ‘fungicides and bactericides’ (43% of the total), ‘herbicides, haulm destructors and moss killers’ (35%) and ‘insecticides and acaricides’ (14%). In 2020, inorganic fungicides (containing copper compounds, inorganic sulphur and other inorganic fungicides, many of which are permitted in organic farming) accounted for slightly more than one half (57%) of the 'fungicides and bactericides' sold in the EU. 

Four EU Member States (Germany, Spain, France and Italy) - also the main agricultural producers in the EU - recorded the highest volumes sold in most major groups.

Use of pesticides in EU
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