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Reducing pesticide use and risks - What action is needed?

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Reducing pesticide use and risks - What action is needed?

Briefing Paper


Pesticides play a sensitive role in food systems: they are applied in order to protect crops, but they can have negative impacts on environment and human health. While global pesticide use has grown to 3.5 billion kg active ingredients per year, a significant portion of the chemicals applied has proved to be excessive, uneconomic or unnecessary both in industrialized and developing countries. For society as a whole it would be desirable to gradually reduce pesticide use to a level where negative impacts – externalities like health hazards, biodiversity loss or water pollution – at least do not outweigh the value added in terms of yields or cost savings in production. Today there is a consensus among a wide range of stakeholders that pesticide use needs to be gradually reduced to a level that is effectively required to ensure crop production, and that risks of pesticide application need to be reduced as far as possible. Experience across the world shows that pesticide use can be reduced considerably without unduly reducing yields or increasing costs of production. A step-wise reduction of pesticide use is feasible already within the current production systems and with the knowledge, technologies and alternatives available today.

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PDF icon Briefing paper pesticide reduction672.42 KB