Pesticide Use

How much pesticide is used around the world?

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Map of the pesticide use around the world.

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Pesticides are substances meant to control pests. Target pests can include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, molluscs, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms), and microbes that destroy property, cause nuisance, or spread disease, or are disease vectors.

Pesticides are common and often necessary in agriculture around the world. Pesticides come in many shapes and forms. These can be organic, but also chemical pesticides that are harmful to public health. Over-usage of some pesticides could lead to health problems of the consumer, but also resistance in the pests.

The usage of pesticides is restricted in some countries. Banning highly toxic pesticides and limiting the amount that can be applied.

On this map, we can see the amount of pesticide that is used by country. It’s measured in kg per hectare of cropland. Although this map doesn’t say anything about the toxicity or type of the pesticide used, it does give us a good view of where pesticides are (over) used.

We can see that pesticide use tends to be lower in lesser developed countries and countries with a smaller agricultural sector. Pesticide use is by far the highest in East Asia, but also in South America. The top 10 contains several small nations. It could be that due to the size of the country, the data is skewed for small nations like Trinidad and Tobago and Saint Lucia.

If we were to exclude these smaller nations, Ecuador would have the highest pesticide use (14.03 kg/ha), followed by China (13.07 kg/ha) and Israel (12.74 kg/ha).

The data comes from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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