Sales of pesticides slowly decreasing

Long-term progress:
Sales figures are lower today than in the 1970s and 1980s, and many of the active ingredients used then are now prohibited. Since 1995, sales of pesticides have increased by approximately 50%.
Short-term progress:
Use of pesticides has increased in recent years, particularly in forestry.
Progress in relation to targets:
The aim of the national action plan is to reduce risks from pesticides. This may prove difficult if climate change makes it easier for plant pests to survive the Finnish winter, increasing the need for pest control.

Use of pesticides in agriculture in Finland in 1955–2013

Use of pesticides

Annual sales of agricultural pesticides in relation to arable land under cultivation at the time. Source: Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) and Tike, Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. 2014.

Precise application and control reduce risks

Use of pesticides in Finnish agriculture clearly decreased in the early 1990s, but has increased since. It is, however, difficult to assess the environmental impact of pesticides solely on the basis of amounts applied, as there are different active ingredients involved and their characteristics and ecological effects vary.

To facilitate impact assessment, the Finnish Environment Institute has developed a risk indicator for pesticides, taking account not only of sales figures but also of the key detrimental characteristics of each substance, such as toxicity and accumulation in organisms.

The risk indicator was calculated for the years 1985–2006. Results indicate that the environmental impact of pesticides increased because a greater proportion of fungicides sold now include substances that are more hazardous.

In early 2012, the total number of active ingredients approved for crop protection in Finland was 153. Sales figures for herbicides are clearly highest, accounting for some 77% of active ingredients sold in 2013. Quantities of forestry pesticides increased in the 2000s, as substances for preventing Heterobasidionfungi became available.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has prepared a National Action Plan on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products. Its main objective is to reduce the risks posed by pesticides to human health and the environment.

Sources:

  • National Action Plan on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products.
  • Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency. 2014.
  • Tike, Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. 2014.

 

Published 2015-08-19 at 14:20, updated 2016-07-22 at 14:50