Jul. 2, 2008
EU Agriculture Ministers have agreed that proposals to harmonise EU agrochemical statistics should be limited to quantities sold and used in agricultural crops. The Ministers reached an agreement on the proposals in June. They rejected calls by the European Parliament earlier this year to extend the proposals to cover a wider range of data on manufacturing, supplies to formulators and wholesalers, exports and non-crop pesticides.
The European Commission's proposed regulation on agrochemical statistics would form part of the planned EU thematic strategy on sustainable pesticide use. The aim is to use the data to assess the strategy's progress in reducing the impact of pesticides on the environment and human health.
The proposals would require EU member states to collect data on the annual amounts of active ingredients sold and used in agricultural crops. Member states would specify crops to be covered over a five year period that are representative of the crops cultivated in the country. For each crop, the quantity of each ai used and the area treated would be recorded. In their reports to the Commission, member states would be required to include a comparison of data on ais used during the five-year period with that on ais sold.
The Ministers did take account of concerns raised by the Parliament on administrative burden and confidentiality. In their agreed text, the Ministers incorporated parliamentary amendments that require the Commission to evaluate the administrative burden on businesses, farmers and national authorities, and to suggest improvements if necessary. In addition, they added provisions to ensure protection of confidential data.
With regard to non-crop pesticides, the Ministers sided with the Commission's view that experience with the regulation of these products under the EU biocidal products Directive (98/8) is still limited. The Commission believes that data harmonising efforts should initially focus on agricultural pesticides, as the sector has more sales and use information available.