Restrictions on three controversial farm chemicals come into force today

Restrictions on the use of paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos are now in effect, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on said today.

He disclosed that the restrictions are in line with five ministerial announcements approved by the National Hazardous Substances Committee on February 14th.

He said that the restriction on those who use the three farm chemicals in the field, producers, importers, wholesalers and retailers, will remain in force until there is a new order from the National Hazardous Substances Committee.

Mr. Chalermchai added that he has no idea when the NHSC will meet to discuss whether to impose an outright ban on the substances, noting that the committee will not notify him directly, but will notify the five representatives of his ministry who sit on the committee.

Whatever the decision, either to impose a complete ban or just to restrict the use of the herbicides, the ministry is legally obliged to follow the decision or the minister will be held accountable for negligence of duty.

People who use the three substances, such as farmers or crop spraying services, must undergo training or pass the tests about proper use of the chemicals, both arranged by the Agricultural Techniques Department.

Mr. Chalermchai disclosed that, according to the restrictions, paraquat and glyphosate are used to kill weeds in sugarcane, para-rubber, oil palm, maize and tapioca plantations and fruit orchards, while chlorpyrifos is used to kill insects in flower nurseries.

The three chemicals cannot be used in vegetable or herb plots, watershed areas or public spaces, except the areas under the State Railways of Thailand and the Rural Highways Department, which use the chemicals to kill weeds on both sides of rural roads and tracks with prior permission from the Agricultural Techniques Department.

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