Global increase in pesticide use
The global pesticide market reached $27,825 million in 1994, an increase
of 10.1% over the previous year, according to the British Agrochemicals
Association (BAA) annual report. This represents a growth in real terms of 2.9%
- the largest increase in many years.
The global analysis, carried out by Wood
Mackenzie (WM) for the BAA, revealed a 12% rise in pesticide sales across
Western Europe, strongest in France, Italy, Germany and the UK. Other
areas of expansion were North America; Latin America, particularly Brazil and
Argentina; Japan and several other Asian markets, notably Thailand, Indonesia
and India; South Africa and some North African markets, but not in the rest of
Africa. Sales fell in Australia and Russia. There were no surprising
changes in usage per crop (see tables).
agrochemical usage 1994
||By world area
||By product type
||Rest of the World
The UK pesticide industry
BAA member sales in 1994 reached £1,318.1
million, an increase of 3%, on the previous year. UK sales increased by £10.6
million, although this represents a decrease of 1% against inflation.
However, WM believes that the long term influence of the CAP reforms in the
European Union now appear marginal, and that farmers have reverted to
traditional spraying programmes.
By weight, active ingredient use remained almost static at
24,206 tonnes, about half of which are herbicides. UK farmers' purchases have
declined in real terms by 22% since 1990, and accounted for 5% of inputs in 1994
compared with 6.5% in 1990. While profits rose, employment fell by 2% and
this was mainly in the areas of manufacturing, research and development rather
than in sales.
As the major UK arable crop, (3.1 million/ha.) cereals
account for the by far the largest proportion of pesticides, and are sprayed on
average 6.4 times during the year. Potatoes were sprayed more often (8.5 times),
with sugar beet marginally more at 6.5 times.
Europe - biggest exporting region
The increased sales came primarily from exports, which
rose by £27.6 million to £869.5 million, an increase of 3.3% over 1993.
The European Union is the biggest exporting region, with 46.7% of global exports
in 1994, compared with 38.4% in 1993. Exports to Japan increased by 77.1%, but
only account for 4% the total.
UK and European issues
The industry priorities closer to home are to keep the
Pesticides Safety Directorate on target with registration applications of active
ingredients; to reduce further the cost to industry of registration and
post-approval monitoring, which has already dropped from 1.81% to 1.62% of UK
turnover; and to argue for higher pesticide residues in drinking water than the
current 0.1 ppb allowed under EU Regulations. "This is forcing water supply
companies to waste billions of pounds removing safe, trace levels of
pesticides" said a industry spokesman recently. The BAA is also lobbying
for delays and minimised costs to industry on the standards on transport of
dangerous goods as the UK is bringing standards up to European and UN levels.
These concerns are at odds with environmentalists, who wish
to see the application of the precautionary and polluter pays principles.
On a more positive note, the BAA has been promoting integrated crop management,
encouraging more targeted and efficient use of pesticides, however less of this
work is now being funded by the agrochemical industry as other organisations
have been encouraged to contribute funding.
The industry lobby group has been active in several
educational areas, not only producing a training pack for use in agricultural
colleges and farming 'influencers', but also targeting schools at both
secondary and primary levels, with a pack on the agrochemical industry's
contributing to feeding the world, one for the A level curriculum and another
for teacher training colleges.
BAA Annual Report, 1994, 4 Lincoln Court,
Lincoln Road, Peterborough, PE1 2RP, Tel 01733 349225, Fax 01733 62523.
article first appeared in Pesticides News No. 28,
June 1995, page 7]