Low Impact Farming

The sales of pesticide in the EU did not decrease since 2011. It has been more or less stable, most of it used in the agricultural sector. This use of pesticides can be significantly reduced with prevention and non chemical methods. This reduces costs for farmers and damage to health, water, soil and biodiversity. Studies and practice show that farmers can reduce their pesticide use and costs by 50% without reducing their yield. Other examples show an 80% reduction with a slight decrease in yield but lower costs and increase in soil fertility and drought resilience.

PAN Europe advocates for pesticide dependency reductions. We encoura policy changes to help and reward farmers to apply integrated pest management based on solid agronomic practices and the use of non-chemical alternatives. This makes it possible for farmers to apply pesticides only where absolutely neccesary and to carefully select pesticides with the lowest harm.

PAN Europe is one of the main EU drivers pushing for a thorough implementation of the EU Directive on sustainable use of pesticides (Directive 2009/128/EC). This Directive clearly says:

Member States shall take all necessary measures to promote low pesticide-input pest management, giving wherever possible priority to non-chemical methods, so that professional users of pesticides switch to practices and products with the lowest risk to human health and the environment among those available for the same pest problem.

We support the proposal of the European Commission to make this directive into a binding regulation. We advocate to improve the proposal and make it more ambitious. We also call for the SUD to be integrated into the Common Agricultural Policy. This should get crop rotation back on the agenda it is as the number one priority of IPM according to Annex III to the SUD. We also fight for the SUD principles to be integrated into other policies.

SINCE 2015, the IPM Exhibition “Integrated pest management: working with nature” has been exhibited at various venues across Europe. The purpose of the exhibition is to show what integrated pest management means, and how the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive can be implemented and fully integrated into the Common Agricultural Policy. With this exhibition, we wish to highlight alternatives that exist and are used by mainstream farmers, often with big differences in uptake by farmers across different crop sectors and Member States.

Building on the IPM exhibit “Working with Nature”, PAN Europe has put together additional technical information on a new website dedicated to low impact farming.  The material includes short technical videos presenting the main posters, as well as testimonies of farmers (in arable crops as well as apple and grape production) on their experience with IPM.

PAN Europe, together with partners, also organises farm visits in order to show what integrated pest management in perennials, illustrating how to use Green tools first, meaning applying good agronomic methods, monitoring, mechanical and physical methods in addition to biocontrol products in the fight against pests and disease.

For more information on low impact farming: http://www.low-impact-farming.info


© Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe), Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55

Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, LIFE programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.