Sales of pesticides down for the second year in a row

Posted on 12 June 2024, 8:00

According to Statistics Estonia, 713.5 tonnes of pesticides by active substance were placed on the market in Estonia in 2023, which is a tenth less than in 2022 and less than in the four previous years as well. The majority of pesticides sold were again herbicides.

Herbicides accounted for 72%, fungicides for 16%, growth regulators for 10% and insecticides for 1.4% of the total amount of pesticides sold. Compared with 2022, there was a decline in the sales of growth regulators and fungicides, whereas the quantity of insecticides sold grew slightly. After a downward trend in the previous year, an increase was seen in the quantity of herbicides placed on the market in 2023.

Swen Peterson, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that herbicides have been the most sold type of plant protection product for years. “In 2023, the sales of herbicides totalled 516 tonnes, which is nearly 10 tonnes more than in 2022. However, the quantity of growth regulators sold was a third lower and the quantity of fungicides almost a quarter lower than in 2022,” Peterson added.

Compared with other member states of the European Union, the absolute quantities of pesticides placed on the market in Estonia are relatively small. For example, in 2022, the sold quantities of the three major types of pesticides – herbicides, fungicides and insecticides – were 64,000 tonnes in France, 54,000 tonnes in Spain, 45,000 tonnes in Germany and 1,400 tonnes in neighbouring Latvia. The sales of these three product categories in Estonia totalled 644 tonnes in 2023.

In terms of the amounts of plant protection products sold per hectare of utilised agricultural area in 2022, Malta led with 9.4 kg, followed by Cyprus with 8.2 kg and the Netherlands with 4.9 kg per hectare. In Latvia and Estonia the quantities per hectare were 0.92 kg and 0.72 kg, respectively.

Pesticides are used not only for agricultural purposes but also in forestry, wood processing industry, road and railway maintenance, sports grounds and playgrounds and parks. Some pesticides can be bought by anyone for use in home gardens.

Sales of pesticides, 2011–2023

Pesticides placed on the market are pesticides bought abroad and brought to Estonia for sale. Pesticides are used for weed, plant pest, parasite and insect control. The use of pesticides can fluctuate from year to year depending on climate conditions and variability in plant damages and diseases.

Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data on the sales and use of pesticides for the Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture, with the aim to obtain data on the environment in Estonia.

For international comparisons, data on pesticide sales in other European Union countries, published in the Eurostat database, have been used (data for the latest possible year, in this case 2022).

More detailed data have been published in the statistical database.

When using Statistics Estonia’s data and graphs, please indicate the source.

For further information:

Heidi Kukk
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Dissemination Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9181
press [at]

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