The use of pesticides, including their health and environmental risks, is an issue of high societal concern in the EU. It’s a polarised topic, with strong views about their benefits and harms. The EU already has one of the strictest systems in the world for assessing, authorising and using pesticides. Many farmers consider pesticides to be absolutely essential to food production, and that we simply can’t do without them. At the same time there is a recognised need to continue to reduce the use and risk of pesticides.


Elta was a technical expert for a study to develop future vision scenarios for the sustainable use of pesticides to support the European Commission, Directorate General for Health and Food Safety. The study was led by RAND Europe, in collaboration with a team of expert advisors.

The study assessed the potential for the use of pesticides to promote sustainable food systems and protect public health and the natural environment. The European Commission will soon propose legislation that significantly reduces the use and risks associated with chemical pesticides, in line with the Green Deal – the European Union’s growth strategy to transition the economy to a more sustainable model. The study will support the Commission in formulating an appropriate policy trajectory on this issue, including how best to accomplish a set of ambitious pesticide-reduction targets.   

Scenarios were developed to aid in understanding the factors that may shape the future of the agricultural sector and identify for stakeholders the range of possible futures that may occur. They also supported decision-making through testing the potential impact of different policies and related actions on future outcomes to achieve the Commission’s objectives.

European Commission, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, Feijao, C., Angelo, C., Flanagan, I. et al., Development of future scenarios for sustainable pesticide use and achievement of pesticide-use and risk-reduction targets announced in the farm to fork and biodiversity strategies by 2030, Publications Office of the European Union, 2022,

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