Thai farmers call for reconsideration of chemical ban

Claims focused on possibilities of excessive illegal purchase as now there are no replacements for paraquat and chlorpyrifos if they are taken off shelves.

Farmers from the Agricultural Safety Association and the Federation of Safe Agriculture met with the Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Chalermchai Sri-on, to discuss revocation of paraquat and chlorpyrifos ban from August 29, as no alternatives have been provided.

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The representatives asked the minister to send a memorandum to the dangerous substances committee, urging it to reconsider the banning of the chemicals and instead limit usage, as has been done with glyphosate, saying the approach would have less impact. At the same time, they asked that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Ministry of Public Health and Department of Livestock Development suspend their imports of the two substances immediately, rather than in June next year, as it would benefit certain businesses to the detriment of public health.

Agricultural Safety Association President Sukan Sangwanna expressed his belief that, even if paraquat and chlorpyrifos are taken off shelves, they would continue to be bought illegally as no replacements have been identified.

The Department of Agriculture has mandated that both chemicals be turned over by farmers within 90 days of August 29, and by retailers within 270 days or before February 25, 2021. Those who fail to comply could be fined 1 million baht. (NNT)