Fertilizer & Pesticide Bans or Taxes

Pesticide Ban

On July 11, 2000, the Halifax Regional Municipality voted to ban pesticide use on lawns by the year 2003.

Tax Policies

Several countries and states have found that increasing the costs of agricultural inputs is an effective way to reduce their use. Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the states of Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin all have enacted fertilizer and/or pesticide taxes. Among the most aggressive of these contries, Norway taxes Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K) at 15%, while Sweden taxes N at $0.08/kg, P at $0.15/kg in addition to an across the board 20% levy on the retail price of fertilizers. (See information on Nominal tax rates of environmentally related taxes in Sweden – from OECD Database of Environmental Taxes)

To apply pesticides, Sweden imposes a 20% price regulation charge and a 10% environmental tax on sales, in addition to a $5.65 charge per hectare for each application. Norway charges 11% on the retail price, while Finland sets its tax at 2.5%. The revenue gained by these taxes are used to subsidize exports (such as in Finland); to support further the input reduction programs (such as in Sweden, where $3-3.5 million are raised each year); to support research into alternative agriculture (such as in Iowa and Wisconsin) or to return to farmers in the form of income support (such as in Norway).

While the level of taxation is in some cases not high enough to directly discourage pesticide and fertilizer use, indirect reductions occur as a result of channeling revenues towards sustainable farming practices which tend to use less pesticides and fertilizer inputs.