Thai farmers mystified as government classifies harmless herbs as “hazardous”

PHOTO: Baehaki Hariri on Unsplash

Following a backlash from the country’s farmers, Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry has agreed to update its list of “Type 2” hazardous substances to remove 13 herbs and vegetables. The government says it will instead move these to the “Type 1” list, meaning farmers don’t have to be registered as producers, but will still have to inform officials when exporting or importing them.

The 13 substances include seemingly innocuous herbs and spices like lemongrass, celery, chillies, galangal, ginger, turmeric, all of which are commonplace ingredients in cooking, especially Thai cooking. Others include neem, marigold, Siam weed, camellia seed residue, the medicinal herb Senna Alata, climbing lily, and non taai yaak or stemona tuberosa lour. The Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Mananya Thaiset, says officials will prepare guidelines for the safe use of such items before reclassifying them as Type 1, explaining that many have secondary uses outside of cooking.

“These 13 herbs, for instance, can be used as insect repellent instead of chemicals and will have a low impact on health and the environment.”

Meanwhile, farmers continue to refute the claim that any of the ingredients are dangerous and say they will protest the decision in Bangkok.

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SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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