Nieuws - 8 mei 2012

Tax on pesticides does not work

Taxes and subsidies are not the best ways to reduce the use of chemical pesticides, say Wageningen business economists in this month’s Agricultural Economics.

The economists put data from Dutch arable farmers into a simulation model and examined the effectiveness of four approaches to reducing the use of pesticides: a tax on pesticides, fines for excessive use, subsidies for more eco-friendly substances and a quota system to control use. None of the financial stimuli generate more than a limited reduction in pesticide use, the model revealed. Quotas are the only effective approach to the problem.
The European Union is considering financial incentives for getting farmers and horticulturalists to cut down on pesticide use. So Greek PhD researcher Theodoros Skevas wanted to find out if they would work. He has established that Dutch growers make excessive use of pesticides but that broad financial incentives will not do much to change that. Only incentives that take into account the variable growing conditions and risk management issues facing growers will stand any chance of success, concludes Skevas, who received his PhD last month from Alfons Oude Lansink, professor of Business Economics. AS