The European Commission announced two pesticide reduction targets as part to the Farm to Fork Strategy in May 2020.
These are a 50% reduction in the use and risk of chemical pesticides and a 50% reduction in the use of more hazardous pesticides.
Each year, the Commission will publish progress at European Union level towards meeting both targets.
Background information: how is progress being measured?
The Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies set two key targets for pesticides:
- Target 1: to reduce by 50% the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 2030
- Target 2: to reduce by 50% the use of more hazardous pesticides by 2030
Target 1 - 50% reduction in use and risk of chemical pesticides
This target will be measured based on:
- the quantities of active substances contained in the pesticides which are placed on the market (sold), and therefore used, in each Member State, and
- the hazard properties of these active substances
It will be based on the methodology underpinning Harmonised Risk Indicator 1 (HRI 1), which was first developed to measure trends in the use and risk of pesticides under the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD), but:
- with a different baseline, and
- non-chemical pesticides will be excluded
The baseline for the Farm to Fork pesticide targets will be the average of the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 because these were the three most recent years at the time of the Farm to Fork announcement in May 2020. A three-year baseline was chosen because pesticide sales and use differ from year to year due to seasonal factors.
Target 2 - 50% reduction in the use of more hazardous pesticides
This will be measured based on sales data for the more hazardous pesticides, mainly the so called ‘candidates for substitution’, again using a three year baseline of the average of 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In the context of the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy, more hazardous pesticides are plant protection products containing active substances that meet the cut-off criteria as set out in points 3.6.2. to 3.6.5 and 3.8.2 of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 or are identified as candidates for substitution in accordance with the criteria in point 4 of that Annex.
Other points to note in measuring progress towards the Farm to Fork Targets
Historical progress - The graphs cover progress from 2011-2019 and comprise three distinct time periods:
- 2011-2014: Progress prior to the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies
- 2015, 2016 and 2017: Baseline for the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies
- 2018 -2028: Progress under the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies
Annual updates - The Commission will update these trends each year to show progress under the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. Exceptionally for this first publication, progress for two years (2018 and 2019) will be published together.
Background: HRI indicators under SUD
In measuring the Farm to Fork pesticide targets the Commission has the advantage of drawing on existing data and an existing methodology. The Commission has dependable sales data for pesticides from 2011 and has already produced, in 2019, legislation developing Harmonised Risk Indicators (HRIs):
- Harmonised Risk Indicator 1 (HRI 1): estimates the trend in the use and risk of pesticides. HRI 1 is based on quantities of active substances contained in the pesticides which are placed on the market (sold), and the hazard properties of these active substances (a weighting is attributed to different categories, e.g. low risk, standard, candidates for substitution, etc.)
- Harmonised Risk Indicator 2 (HRI 2): estimates the trend in the risks associated with emergency authorisations of pesticides
HRI 1 shows a trend of a 17% decrease in the use and risk of pesticides from 2011-2018. HRI 2 shows a 50% increase over this period. You’ll find more details about the methodology used to calculate HRIs via this Eurostat page.