Thai farmers reluctant to scale down use of ‘toxic’ herbicides

Thai farmers say they oppose the proposed bans on herbicides paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos.

The Thai government plans to phase out three chemical weed killers, widely used by Thai farmers, by the end of this year.

Farmers say they oppose the restrictions of use because the chemicals provide higher crop yields, according to Thai PBS who headed out into the fields to survey farmers’ attitudes to the proposed restrictions.

A recent field survey of farmers in Phrae, northern Thailand, indicated that many of the local farmers were unlikely to forsake the weed killers while an effective alternative is not currently available.

Thai PBS reports that the Phrae provincial governor Pongrat Piromrat says that the local government had been encouraging farmers to turn to organic farming. But he admitted the results had been limited because the organic produce is less popular among wholesalers and consumers and because the produce does not look as attractive or fetch the same prices as its non-organic counterparts.

The farmers say, because of their large farms and shortage of labour, they need to use the three herbicides and weed killers before and after cultivation to get large enough harvests to generate the incomes they need.

Organic farmer Mr. Ronnakiat Kamnoi, village headman of Tambon Mae Poong in Wang Chin district, said the government should use incentives to persuade farmers to stop using the toxic chemicals, and launch educational campaigns so farmers better understand the health and environmental risks from the chemicals and the merits of organic farming.

Starting in October this year, farmers who want to continue using the three chemicals must register with officials in their respective areas and undergo training on their proper use.

Retail sellers of the three chemicals are also required to register with authorities to obtain sale permits.

Thai farmers reluctant to scale down use of 'toxic' herbicides | News by Thaiger


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