Andrew Owen-Griffiths, DG of Health and Food Safety at the European Commission, told the Teagasc Crops Forum on Friday 8 September that Ireland has already met its target to reduce pesticide use and risk by 50% by 2030.

Pesticide reduction targets apply to all users including farming, forestry, amenity and domestic use.

Targets set out in the Farm to Fork strategy by the EU aim to reduce pesticide use by 50% and fertiliser use by 20% by 2030.

He explained that reduction is based on reducing the amount of pesticides used and by reducing the risk of pesticides by taking hazardous pesticides off the market. He explained that risk is weighted by using a scale from one to 64.


Owen-Griffiths said that “in a four-year period we’ve cut use by 33%” in the EU. The most up-to-date figures are from 2021.

He told the audience in Naas and those tuning in online that “Ireland is doing very well”. He stated that Ireland is one of only three member states which have met the target already.

Among the factors influencing pesticides reduction in the EU included:

  • Research.
  • Non-renewal of higher risk substances.
  • Technological advances including precision farming.
  • Using non-chemical alternatives.
  • Increasing organic farming.
  • New resistant varieties including new genomic techniques.
  • Improved integrated pest management (IPM) implementation.
  • Legally binding targets

    The European Commission employee stated that the implementation of the sustainable use of pesticides directive (SUD) varied across countries and regions within countries, with better implementation in some places compared with others.

    The SUD has now been changed to the sustainable use of pesticides regulations (SUR), which means that the targets are now legally binding.