FRANCE: Provisional balance for 2019 PPPs sales

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.


To download: 

Press release: Action Plan on Plant Protection Products and a less pesticide-dependent agriculture: significant drop in sales in 2019 (in French)


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EUROPE – COM: Updated overview of AIR4 and AIR5 applications

The overview of the applications for renewal of approval under article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009  for the active substances of the AIR4 and AIR5 programmes have just been updated by DG SANTE.

These new versions dated June 2020 replace the previous revisions dated March 2020 and February 2020 respectively.


To download: 

SANTE-2016-11734-rev 20 (June 2020): AIR IV renewal programme applications for renewal of approval

SANTE-2019- 13022–rev 2 (June 2020): The 5th renewal programme applications for renewal of approval


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EUROPE – EFSA: Revision of Surface Water FOCUS Scenarios

Further to a public consultation conducted from 24 September to 5 November 2018, EFSA published a scientific report as regards the ‘repair action’ undertaken on the FOCUS surface water scenarios commissioned by the European Commission.

The major revisions made by the working group are summarised below.

Assessment period over 20 years

The current 12- or 16-months assessment periods for the estimation of predicted environmental concentrations in surface water (PECsw) were replaced by a 20-year assessment period by use of additional weather data.

In addition, the following miscellaneous revisions were conducted:

  • A warming-up period of 6 years was added also for the run-off scenarios to account for the potential accumulation in sediment of more persistent substances;
  • Irrigation routines were revised to be based on water balances calculated internally by FOCUS models;
  • A revision of how crop interceptions are estimated in FOCUS MACRO and PRZM was made to ensure consistency with the other exposure models (i.e. for groundwaters and soil);
  • A revision of the cumulative drift probability was made in case of multiple applications (90th percentile drift values considered at the last application). In this way, modelling of PECsw following single application is no more necessary in case of multiple applications;
  • Adaptations were made to the calculation of the correction factor for metabolite formation in the upstream catchment.
Application date selection approach

A revision of the application date selection approach was needed because of the implementation of the new 20-year assessment period. The new approach is based on the link between the BBCH stage as intended in GAP and the calendar date at which this BBCH stage is actually reached over the years at each scenario location.

For single application, an application window was set to ±3 days around the intended application date (corresponding to intended BBCH). For multiple applications, an application window of 3 days prior to 1st application and 3 days after last application was set.

The modification of the application date selection approach allows to reduce the variability of input parameter selections related to application timing and therefore increases user confidence in PECsw calculations.

Besides, it is noted that the maximum number of applications that can be modelled, currently limited to 8, was increased to 50. The use of irregular application interval was also implemented.

Active substance parameter correlated with soil properties

In case of significant change in substance properties within a soil pH range from 5.1 to 8.0, the working group recommended to run individual modellings with substance properties representative for soil pH of 5.1 and of 8.0.

No recommendation was made as regards the soil clay content as this property is already part of the FOCUS scenario definition.

Description of wash-off from crops

Modifications were made in PRZM to ensure more consistency between PRZM and MACRO as regards foliar wash-off. The working group also proposed a revision of the wash-off coefficient used in surface water exposure scenarios to ensure a complete harmonisation with the coefficient used in groundwater and soil exposure scenarios.

PECsw processing times

An improvement was made in the computational approach of TOXSWA which should shorten the project run-time.

The working group underlined that the option of automatically running MACRO and PRZM within SWASH is of interest but could not be addressed within the present mandate.

Drift scenarios
  • The ‘vines early’ drift scenario was removed from the exposure assessment as the drift values were derived from application techniques that are not standard farming practices;
  • BBCH stages were set to discriminate the ‘pome/stone fruits, early’ and ‘pome/stone fruits, late’ drift scenarios: the less conservative ‘pome/stone fruits, late’ drift values will apply from BBCH 71 to 95. The more conservative ‘pome/stone fruits, early’ drift values will apply to other BBCH stages.
  • A downward spraying scenario to tall permanent crops (e.g. orchards, vineyards) was introduced to cover for example an herbicide use. It combines the drift of low arable crops with the default distance to water bodies of tall permanent crops.
Use and presentation of results

PECsw are estimated for each year of the new 20-year assessment period. Without setting a definitive temporal percentile for deriving the overall PECsw, the working group recommended to apply a temporal percentile between the 50th and the 90th percentile, the 90th percentile being more in line with the original intentions of the FOCUS working group. The working group highlighted that the temporal percentile may also be selected by integrating effect modelling on aquatic organisms and the overall exposure pattern rather than to use a fixed temporal percentile.

The working group noted that the revised FOCUS step 3 surface water scenarios do not necessarily cover the current FOCUS step 2 PECsw calculations. A revision of FOCUS step 1-2 is therefore recommended.

For sediment, exposure scenarios were revised in such a way that:

  • PECsed can be estimated in total content on organic matter (OM) basis (µg/kg OM), in total content on dry sediment mass basis (µg/kg dry sediment mass) and in pore water basis (µg/L), and
  • concentrations are averaged over the top 1 and 5 cm for the risk assessments for benthic invertebrates and macrophytes, respectively.

The working group however noted that the approach for PECsed calculation, even after revisions, is not conservative enough. Sediment-dedicated worst-case scenarios would be needed.

Dealing with rotational crops

The working group concluded that crop rotation was already implicitly included in the FOCUS exposure scenarios and it did not necessitate further revision.

Other miscellaneous modifications
  • New data available indicate that a complete and well-established vegetation cover within and between tall permanent crop rows is no more representative of current agricultural practices. A more realistic vegetation cover is now considered for the surface run-off route in tall permanent crop;
  • A revision of the procedure for the drainage route in the run-off scenarios was made;
  • The estimation water temperature in the exposure scenarios was improved.


The working group concluded that the revised FOCUS exposure scenarios for surface water delivers PECsw that are in the range of those delivered by the current FOCUS approach. However, the new exposure scenarios are considered to be less dependent on the application timing and thus, more robust.


To download: 

Revision of Surface Water FOCUS scenarios: EFSA report and Outcome of the Public Consultation


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EUROPE – COM: The European Green Deal

The European Green Deal sets out how to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. This initiative is implemented through several strategies such as the “Farm to Fork Strategy” and the “Biodiversity Strategy for 2030”.


The increasing recurrence of droughts, floods, forest fires and new pests are a constant reminder that our food system is under threat and must become more sustainable and resilient. More recently the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the weakness of the globalised food systems, their lack of resilience, and the need to address them by becoming more sustainable.

5 key points:

– Make sure Europeans get healthy, affordable and sustainable food.

– Tackle climate change.

– Protect the environment and preserve biodiversity.

– Fair economic return in the food chain.

– Increase organic farming.


Farm to Fork Strategy

The Farm to Fork Strategy is at the heart of the European Green Deal aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly.


– Concerning the use of pesticides in agriculture:

  • Reduce by 50% the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 2030.
  • Reduce by 50% the use of more hazardous pesticides by 2030.

– Concerning the excess of nutrients, a major source of air, soil and water pollution:

  • Reduce nutrient losses by at least 50%, while ensuring no deterioration on soil fertility.
  • Reduce fertiliser use by at least 20% by 2030.

– Concerning antimicrobial resistance, leading to an estimated 33 000 human deaths in the EU each year (linked to the use of antimicrobials in animal and human health):

  • Reduce by 50% the sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture by 2030.

– Concerning the organic farming:

  • Reaching 25% of total agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.

How will the targets be reached?

– Create a healthy food environment for an easier healthy and sustainable choice.

– Propose mandatory harmonised front-of-pack nutrition labelling for a healthy and sustainable diets choice by consumers.

– Reduce by half food waste per capita by 2030.

– Invest in Research and Innovation related to food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and environment.

– Promote the Global transition, by making European food famous for its sustainability.

Also, a public consultation is actually open for the future revision of the European rules on the sustainable use of pesticides. This SUD directive could be the crucial tool to achieve these targets and thus should be strengthened.


Biodiversity Strategy

The complementary Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 will address the main causes of the biodiversity loss, such as the non-sustainable use of lands and seas, the overexploitation of natural resources, the climate change, the pollution and the invasive alien species.

The following actions will be put in place for the protection and restoration of nature:

– Establishing and effectively managing protected areas for at least 30% of European lands and seas by 2030.

– Restoring degraded terrestrial and marine ecosystems in Europe.

– Contributing to the protection of protected habitats and species.

– Halting and reversing the decline of pollinators by bringing them back to farmland.

– Reducing pollution.

– Greening urban spaces.

– Strengthening organic farming and other biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices.

– Planting at least 3 billion additional trees.


At least €20 billion a year should be unlocked for spending on nature, mobilising private and public funding at national and EU level.


To download: 

Farm to Fork Strategy and its annex

Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and its annex


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EUROPE – EFSA – Public consultation: Draft Guidance for Photo Transformation Compounds in PECgroundwater Modelllings

EFSA has launched a public consultation on a draft guidance for consideration and parameterisation of photo transformation compounds in groundwater simulations in the exposure assessment of plant protection products. The guidance document was drafted by the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA).

The document gives recommendations on how to consider transformation products formed by soil photolysis when calculating predicted environmental concentrations in groundwater (PECgroundwater) using PELMO and PEARL models. It describes possible parameterisations of the photolytic pathway in a tiered approach. For PEARL, only the Tier 1 approach is currently possible. Further developments of the PEARL model would be needed to use the more complex photolysis scheme proposed in higher tiers.

The public consultation will be closed on 1 July 2020.


To download: 

Guidance for consideration and parameterisation of photo transformation compounds in groundwater simulations in the exposure assessment of plant protection products – Draft version 0.4, December 2018.


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