Agricultural pesticides

In 2016, pesticide sales amounted to 5.1 kilograms per hectare of agricultural land in Belgium. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must decrease.

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Agricultural pesticides - Belgium and international comparison

kg/ha

 2011201220132014201520162016//2011
Belgium4.95.25.05.55.05.10.8
Germany2.62.72.62.82.92.81.4
France2.22.32.42.72.42.63.3
Netherlands5.96.15.85.85.4----
//: Average Growth Rates

Calculations FPB based on FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment (2015), Ventes de pesticides 2007-2013 (direct communication); Statistics Belgium (2018), Annual data on active substances (kg) from commercial products covered by an authorization for the placing on the market of plant protection products 2012-2016; Statistics Belgium (2010-2017), Chiffres-clés de l'agriculture 2010 à 2016, https://statbel.fgov.be/ & Eurostat (2018), Pesticide sales [aei_fm_salpest09] and Land use: number of farms and areas of different crops by type of farming [ef_oluft], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 17/09/2018).

Definition: agricultural pesticides are chemical substances that are mainly used in agriculture to destroy organisms that are harmful to crops, such as fungi, insects, bacteria and plants. The consumption of agricultural pesticides is defined as the ratio between the total quantity of pesticides sold (this covers not only pesticides for agricultural purposes, but also pesticides used by municipalities, by the Belgian Railways, etc.) and the total agricultural area, expressed in kg/hectares. The total quantity of pesticides covers all substances listed in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 concerning statistics on pesticides (Official Journal of the European Union, 10/12/2009). The indicator is calculated by the FPB on the basis of data from the Federal Public Service Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment and Statistics Belgium for Belgium and on the basis of Eurostat for the other European countries.

Goal: the amount of agricultural pesticides sold per hectare must decrease.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 2.4: “By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality”.

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development includes objective 28: “The environmental and social impact of our food production and consumption patterns will be significantly reduced” (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013).

International comparison: compared to the three neighbouring countries, Belgium is below the Netherlands, but consumes significantly more pesticides than Germany and France.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to target 2.4, since reducing the use of pesticides helps to maintain ecosystems.

Sources

  • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

  • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

  • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/ (consulted on 23/10/2018).

  • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulted on 23/10/2018).

More information is available in FR (French) and NL (Dutch).