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 Teampest Project 

Project title

Theoretical Development and Empirical Measurement of the External Costs of Pesticides

Starting date


Duration in months


Call (part) identifier

FP7 - KBBE - 2007 - 1

Activity code(s) most relevant to your topic

KBBE - 2007 -1.4-18: External costs of pesticides

Free keywords

Agricultural Policy, Production Economics, Environmental Economics

Pesticides (crop protection agents) are defined as chemical substances which protect plants from pathogens (fungicides), insects (insecticides), nematodes (nematicides) and weeds (herbicides). In agriculture, they are used to secure yields, to improve quality of food and to facilitate harvesting. Their use in agriculture is necessary because, according to the literature, the reported yield losses of the eight principal food and cash crops due to pests (pathogens, insects, weeds) ranged from 29 to 52% in comparison with the pest free crops. However, their heavy use in agriculture resulted in pest resistance (pests are less susceptible to some pesticides), ground and surface water contamination (due to leaching and runoff respectively), as well as possible health problems on farmers (as a result of their exposure during the application of pesticides) and consumers.

Within this context, the motivation for this work stems from the need to provide a solid methodological framework that will serve as the foundation for the introduction of EU policies aiming at achieving a sustainable use of pesticides in European agriculture. In this respect, the proposed project intends to provide an accurate assessment of the external costs of agricultural pesticide use and contribute to the relevant EU policies by developing tools for designing a socially optimal tax and levy scheme aimed at the reduction of pesticide use to its socially optimal level.

The project fulfils its aims by combining traditional and well-established theoretical methodologies with the most recent advancements in economic theory, building also upon the biological and technical scientific work on pesticide use developed over the last years. The validity of the employed theoretical models and policy tools will be extensively verified by applying advanced econometric and mathematical approaches in selected EU countries/or regions to account for the diversity in pesticide use among producers in different geographical locations.  At the same time, consideration will be given to the effects of the accrued scheme and alternative policy tools on the socially optimal pesticide use, as well as on economic sustainability and social welfare.

Ultimately, in this project the development and implementation of a system that supports a sustainable use of pesticides is devised and experimented, by bringing together economic, econometric, biological and technical knowledge.



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