Farmers call on Thai government to overturn ban on pesticide use

PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

A group of Thai farmers has submitted a letter to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, citing the ineffectiveness of products used to replace Paraquat and Chlorpyrifos, and calling for the ban on those chemicals, introduced on June 1, to be overturned. In the letter, they suggest the Hazardous Substances Committee impose restrictions on use of the products instead, while educating farmers on how to use them safely. Currently, under the ban, farmers and others in possession of Paraquat and Chlorpyrifos are required to return the products by August 29 or face prosecution.

The group was led by Sukan Sangwanna, Secretary General of The Federation of Safe Agriculture. The farmers claim the Department of Agriculture has not provided any support or any effective alternatives to the banned substances. They say the department’s proposed replacement product, Glufosinate, does not work, and attached a study outlining its ineffectiveness against weeds that occur in crops of sugar cane, oil palm, tapioca, sweetcorn, maize and rubber. They add that the product also appears to have a negative effect on the growth of the crops.

In addition, the farmers accuse the government of double standards, pointing out that officials have not banned the import of products from countries where Paraquat and Chlorpyrifos are still in use. They say Thai farmers already have enough challenges, as they struggle with ongoing flooding in many parts of the country.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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