Farmers plead for compromise over chemicals ban


Farmers of economic crops have backed a move by Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Srion to reconsider the ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos.

The farmers asked Chalermchai to file a letter with the National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC), asking for a limit on usage rather than a ban, said Sukan Sangwanna, Safe Farming Confederation chief and a representative for 19 agriculture associations.
The deadline for farmers to hand over their stocks of both chemicals passed on Saturday (August 29), 90 days after the June 1 ban came into effect.
Farmers complained the ban had forced them to switch to pricier alternatives that do not kill weeds and pests effectively.
Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry and Department of Livestock Development still used paraquat while demanding that farmers not to use it, they said. Alternatives such as glufosinate and glyphosate were also hazardous, they added.
Farmers also complained of double standards designed to benefit big businesses, since both substances can still be imported.
However, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul insisted that the chemicals had to be banned to protect public health.
Today the ministry also underlined the findings of a five-year study that showed more than 40,000 farmers had suffered serious illness due to the use of the substances.
Anutin admitted the ban was going to affect the economy but he said wanted people to be as serious about toxic substances as they were about Covid-19.