Farmers cut pesticide use by 11%, but say phasing chemicals out is ‘utopia’


Dutch farmers have cut their use of pesticides by 11% over the past four years but are still a long way from meeting government targets, according to new figures from national statistics office CBS.

In 2020, farmers used 5,000 tonnes of pesticides on agricultural land, compared with 5,600 tonnes in 2016, the CBS said. In the four years to 2016, the reduction was only 2%.

Around a quarter of the pesticides used in 2020 are officially counted as being ‘green’ methods of controlling pests, the CBS said.

Farming organisation LTO Nederland told MPs earlier this week that the reduction in pesticide use is a ‘clever’ performance, broadcaster NOS reported. However, the lobby group warned it is becoming increasingly difficult to grow healthy crops, given that pesticide use is being further restricted, despite the lack of affordable alternatives.

The government wants farmers to have largely replaced traditional pesticides by preventative methods and organic alternatives by 2030, but that target is ‘utopia’, LTO Nederland said.

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