The Ministries of Ecological Transition and Agriculture have released a provisional balance for the sales of plant protection products in 2019. These figures come from annual declarations by distributors of plant protection products as part of the tax on diffuse pollution. These data still need to be consolidated by the autumn, in particular to refine their analysis as regards the different uses (herbicide, fungicide, insecticide), the types of products (CMR, biocontrol), and to complete by other indicators.
These provisional data show that:
– The total quantities of active substances sold in agricultural uses, excluding biocontrol products, decrease by 44% between 2018 and 2019 (- 28 078 tonnes), after an increase of 18% between 2017 and 2018 (+ 11 870 tonnes);
– The total quantities of products of very high concern sold (carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic – CMR) decrease by more than 50% in 2019 compared to 2018 ;
– The quantities of glyphosate sold decrease by 35% (- 3 358 tonnes) between 2018 and 2019 after an increase of 11% (+ 999 tonnes) between 2017 and 2018;
– The proportion of biocontrol products continues to increase, illustrating a progressive and continuous substitution of the most hazardous substances by these products.
However, the quantities of active substances sold do not reflect neither the quantity applied nor the period of application of the treatments. Indeed, the year 2019 was affected by climatic conditions that were particularly less favourable to the development of crop diseases compared to 2018, but also by the increase of the tax on diffuse pollution on 1 January 2019. Farmers therefore tended to stock plant protection products at the end of the previous year in order to anticipate this increase.
It is nevertheless important to note that the decreasing trend in the market for plant protection products and the increase in the market for products suitable for use in organic farming demonstrate the reality of the ongoing agricultural transition and the wish to substitute the most hazardous substances.
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