Census of Agriculture 2017

Number of establishments using pesticides increases by 20.4%

Section: IBGE | Umberlândia Cabral | Design: Brisa Gil

October 25, 2019 10h00 AM | Last Updated: October 25, 2019 04h13 PM

Increase in the use of pesticides can be made worse by misuse and lack of inspection - Photo: Licia Rubinstein/IBGE News Agency 

The number of establishments that reported the use of pesticides increased by 20.4% in the last 11 years. The data come from the 2017 Census of Agriculture, released today by the IBGE, a survey that also shows the high number of illiterate persons working in the application of such products in the field. According to the Census, 15.6% of the producers that used pesticides did not know how to read or write and 89% reported not having received any technical guidance. 


Among the literate producers using pesticides, 69.6% has finished primary school at most and, among those, only 30.6% reported having received technical guidance on the use of the product. “That is even more serious than the use of pesticides. A person who cannot read or write and has not received technical guidance...how could they administer that pesticide?" asks the technical manager of the Census of Agriculture, Antonio Carlos Florido.

Considering the establishments that reported using pesticides, 73% had less than 20 hectares of crop areas. The expenditure of that kind of establishment on the product is significantly lower compared to the expenditure of medium and gig concentrations of land. Only 7.4% of the 32 billion spent on pesticides come from establishments of that kind. The average expenditure, R$1,918 in the period of reference, represented R$160 per month.

Looking at the time series of the establishments that report pesticide use, it is possible to see the variation of figures. The highest record was that of 1980 (almost 2 million) and the lowest in 2006 (almost 1.4 million). According to Florido, the decrease in the period between the Censuses of 1985 and 2006 can be explained by the change brought about by Federal Law 7,802, of 1989, which changed the nomenclature from “agricultural chemicals" to "pesticides”. “It is easier for one to say they use chemicals than pesticides, which is a more aggressive name", the technical manager says. 

Mr. Florido adds that the way those pesticides may have been used is the most worrying situation. “The problem has to do with misuse, lack of guidance and lack of inspection, not with the product itself.”