Deputy Agriculture Minister promises to ban 3 herbicides this year

Deputy Agriculture Minister Manunya Thaiseth has given an assurance that three hazardous herbicides, which are widely used in Thailand and are strongly opposed consumer and civic groups, will be banned within this year.

She disclosed Friday that she had ordered a suspension of the granting of permits for, or registration of paraquat, chlorpyrifos and glyphosate, while a complete review of the use of the chemicals for agriculture is undertaken.

The review is expected to be completed this month, she said, adding that, personally, she would like them to be banned this month, but would have to take several matters into consideration, such as the amount of the chemicals currently held in storage.

The deputy agriculture minister dismissed the suggestion that, since many farmers had been trained in the proper use of the three herbicides, the farmers are able to protect themselves and consumers can be assured that agricultural produce is safe, because it is not known whether the trained farmers strictly follow the usage instructions in practice.

“The safety of human beings cannot be compromised. While we are living with the hazardous chemicals and are taking preventive measures, the chemicals have spread into the environment. When we eat fish from a river or stream contaminated with chemicals, we will ingest the chemicals. It is a food chain,” said Ms. Manunya.

The Public Health Ministry has joined civic and consumer groups in calling for a complete ban of the three chemicals, claiming that several countries have already done so. The Ministry of Agriculture, under the previous administration, opposed a complete ban and instead chose to impose stricter control on their use by providing training to farmers on how to use the chemicals correctly for their own health safety and that of the consumers.



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