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 Listing of household herbs as hazardous substances leaves farmers perplexed

Jul 14. 2020
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By The Nation

After being slammed by the farming community, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry has decided to remove 13 types of Thai herbs from the list of hazardous substances type 2.

The herbs in question are neem, lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, galangal, marigold, Siam weed, camellia seed residue, chillies, celery, medicinal herb senna alata, climbing lily and non taai yaak or stemona tuberosa lour.

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mananya Thaiset said the ministry will instruct the National Hazardous Substances Committee put these 13 herbs on the list of hazardous substances type 1, so the farmers don’t have to register when growing them, but will have to notify the authorities when importing or exporting them.

The Department of Agriculture has been tasked with drafting guidelines on how these herbs can be safely used before removing them from the list of type 2 substances. “These 13 herbs, for instance, can be used as insect repellent instead of chemicals and will have a low impact on health and the environment,” she said.

Ing-orn Panyakit, deputy director-general of the Department of Agriculture, said substances on the type 1 list are less strictly controlled and farmers do not have to undergo registration process, which requires the examination of products and a survey on their negative effects.

She also said the substances are registered in two forms – extracted substances and substances that have undergone drying, fermentation or grinding.

Farmers, however, are confused as to why these household herbs are being put in the list of hazardous substances in the first place and said they will show up in Bangkok to voice their concerns.

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