Monday, November 18, 2019

Farmers to be trained on using dangerous chemicals

Jun 26. 2019
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By The Nation

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MORE THAN 6,000 people fell ill last year due to their exposure to weed killers, with almost half as many again suffering the results of pesticide use, the Public Health Ministry said.

Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the ministry’s Department of Disease Control, said yesterday that 6,079 were admitted to hospital due to use of all kinds of herbicides, while 2,956 had fallen ill from the use of pesticides. 

He added that ailments caused by pesticides and herbicides are acute, and sometimes develop into chronic conditions. 

Farmers who use chemicals may suffer from immediate symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, headache, muscular contraction and shortness of breath, or develop long-term health problems such as cancer, diabetes, paralysis and skin diseases.

Under new regulations, users of agrochemicals paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos will have to undergo training organised by the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry.

When the new rule goes into effect on October 20, all registered farmers across the country will have to undergo training in order to be eligible to purchase or possess those chemicals. 

Bt98 million sought for training

The ministry’s permanent secretary Anan Suwannarat said a Bt98-million budget has been requested from the Budget Bureau for the training. 

Each farming family will only be allowed to obtain one permit for the use of the three dangerous chemicals, he said. 

Those who violate the new regulation will be fined, imprisoned or both. 

Farmers interested in attending the training can apply to the Department of Agricultural Extension, through elearning.doae.go.th. 

The first test for applicants is scheduled for July 1.

Applications to purchase the three farm chemicals can be submitted via chem.doae.go.th or through the Farmbook app. 

Despite a major controversy over the safety of the three agrochemicals, the Hazardous Substance Committee recently stuck by its previous decision to not ban them, allowing their use for another two years. 

However, the Thailand Pesticide Alert Network yesterday again called on both the Public Health and Agriculture and Cooperatives ministries to completely ban their use as soon as possible.

The group’s coordinator Prokchon Usap said recent tests on vegetables and fruits in Thailand found residues of chemicals that are prohibited from import or should have been banned a long time ago. 

 

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