11 July 2024

The National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC) has agreed, by majority votes, to ban the import, sale and use of paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos in Thailand from December 1st.

The Committee voted as follows:

  • Paraquat: 21 votes to ban vs 5 votes to restrict.
  • Chlorpyrifos: 22 votes to ban vs 4 votes to restrict.
  • Glyphosate: 19 votes to ban vs 7 votes to restrict.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, a vocal supporter of a complete ban, hailed the NHSC’s resolution, saying that the “heroic act” of the committee will be inscribed in the history of Thailand and maintained that the fate of the three chemicals was not a political issue and his Bhumjaithai party did not politicize the issue for its own benefit.

As of December 1st, he said possession of any of the three substances will be illegal.

26 of the 29 members of the NHSC attended the meeting, chaired by Mr. Panuwat Duriyangkurasri, acting on behalf of the committee chairman who, along with two other committee members, opted out of vote due to concerns over possible conflicts of interest arising from their close connections with the chemical industry.

Before voting, the committee considered reports from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, assuring the availability of alternative chemicals, and from the Public Health Ministry regarding the health risks posed by the three chemicals and the monitoring of the residues of the substances in farm produce.

Unlike previous votes by the committee, which were conducted behind closed doors, the vote today wasa open and transparent.

The Department of Agricultural Techniques will draft a ministerial regulation following the NHSC’s decision and will hold public hearings to gauge the views of all stakeholders before submitting a report to the NHSC for consideration.

The department has also been tasked with managing the inventories of the three herbicides in the possession of the traders in a way which will limit impacts on the traders and farmers who may still need the substances.

Meanwhile, the Rak Mae Klong group, which opposes the complete ban, has threatened to lodge a petition with the Administrative Court, demanding an injunction from the court to suspend the December 1st enforcement of the ban.

Leader of the group, Mrs. Anchulee Lam-amnuayporn, said that they will go to the Administrative Court on October 28th.