346000 tonnes of pesticides sold in 2020 in the EU


Between 2011 and 2020, sales of pesticides in the EU remained relatively stable with the total volume sold annually fluctuating ± 6 % around the 350 000 tonnes level. In 2020, a bit less than 346 000 tonnes were sold.

This information comes from data on pesticide sales published recently by Eurostat. The article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article on agri-environmental indicator: consumption of pesticides.

In terms of pesticides sold, the highest sales volumes in 2020 were for ‘fungicides and bactericides’ (43 % of the total), ‘herbicides, haulm destructors and moss killers’ (35 %) and ‘insecticides and acaricides’ (14 %). In 2020, inorganic fungicides (containing copper compounds, inorganic sulphur and other inorganic fungicides, many of which are permitted in organic farming) accounted for slightly more than one half (57%) of the ‘fungicides and bactericides’ sold in the EU.

Four EU Member States (Germany, Spain, France and Italy) – also the main agricultural producers in the EU – recorded the highest volumes sold in most major groups.

The 16 EU Member States for which data are available for all the major groups recorded a combined 7 % decrease in tonnes of pesticide active substances sold in 2020 (233509 tonnes) compared with 2011 (251868 tonnes). Just over two thirds (67 %) of the total EU sales of pesticides in 2020 were accounted for by these 16 countries.

Between 2011 and 2020, 11 of the 16 Member States with available data recorded lower sales of pesticides. The sharpest decline was recorded in Czechia (-38 %). Portugal, Denmark, Romania, Belgium and Ireland also reported sales that were at least 20 % lower in 2020 than in 2011. In contrast, Austria (+61 %) and Latvia (+77 %) reported significantly higher sales of pesticides in 2020 than in 2011.

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Methodological notes: 

  • During the reference period 2011-2020, < 1 % of the total sales volume were confidential values and could therefore not be included.
  • For the purpose of this article, the term ‘pesticides’ refers to plant protection products and covers the following categories: ‘fungicides and bactericides’, ‘herbicides, haulm destructors and moss killers’, ‘insecticides and acaricides’, ‘molluscicides’, ‘plant growth regulators’, and ‘other plant protection products’.