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“New” committee reverses ban on farm chemicals

Jack Burton

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The Thai government will lift the proposed ban on the herbicide glyphosate, and delay the ban on paraquat and the pesticide chlorpyrifos for six months. It’s an astonishing turn of events given the extensive public debate and insistence by some government ministers that it WON’T reverse the ban under any circumstances. Just two days ago Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul’s assured Thais “there would be no delay to the ban.”

The ban was due to take effect on December 1. The National Committee on Hazardous Substances committee that imposed the ban finished its term in October. Some of current members are new, others are legacy members.

The new committee chairman, Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, says 24 of 29 members attended the last-minute meeting. The ‘new’ committee agreed unanimously to lift the ban on glyphosate and postpone the ban on chlorpyrifos and paraquat until June 1 next year.

For glyphosate (aka “Roundup”) the committee adopted a previous resolution to limit its use rather than banning it.

The Agriculture Ministry will work out how to deal with the impacts of the new decision within four months, including the issue of alternatives for paraquat and chlorpyrifos, according to Suriya.

Wednesday’s resolution was a blow to conservationists and health activists, who applauded the October resolution by the previous committee to ban all chemicals and

“The December 1 ban resolution came very soon after the October resolution, and would have had severe impacts that would reach consumers, because prices would rise.”

The new committee’s resolution followed lobbying by farmers and farm chemical suppliers, who strongly opposed the ban.

It also follows a request by the US for a review of the decision. Glyphosate is produced and marketed by American agro-chemical giant Monsanto, now owned by German global pharmaceutical company Bayer.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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