Approximately half of pesticides sold in Ireland are used by householders, gardeners, county councils, sports grounds and other amenities.
MEP Colm Markey has said that the use of pesticides in these areas needs to be regulated.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal in Brussels this week, he explained the amenity use and domestic use of pesticides is somewhere we could make "major inroads” in reducing pesticide use.
The MEP added that it is essential that the baseline figures for the EU’s target of a 50% reduction in pesticide use by 2030 comes from the period 2016-2018.
Ireland has already reduced pesticide use by over 20%, the MEP explained, and moving the baseline to 2019-2020 would take away from that good work.
“Don’t undermine the people who have made the effort already to succeed,” he commented.
Markey noted that we should be as efficient as possible with pesticides and aim to reduce their use, while adding that Ireland is a low user of pesticides in the EU and so a lower target could be looked at.
Figures from 2011 to 2021 showed Ireland used 0.54kg/ha of pesticides on the utilisable agricultural area, compared with the average of 2.15kg/ha.
Markey also commented that Ireland has the potential to produce high yields, but we have a high risk of disease in crops and this needs to be taken into account, adding that mycotoxins can cause problems in animal feed.
To hear the full interview, listen to the Irish Farmers Journal Tillage Podcast online or wherever you get your podcasts.