Pesticide ban delay draws activist flak

Pesticide ban delay draws activist flak

A group of activists on Tuesday called out the Ministry of Industry for backpedalling on its promise to ban the use of three controversial agrichemicals on June 1 amid speculation the National Hazardous Substances Committee will on Thursday hold off on the ban until the end of the year.

Prokchon Usap, co-ordinator of the Thai Pesticide Alert Network, said that civil society is very concerned about a proposal raised by the Thai Chamber of Commerce to hold off on the ban until year-end, citing the effects of Covid-19 and a possible shortage of raw materials in the food-manufacturing industry.

Ms Prokchon said the ministry should stick to the original deadline to ban the use of those harmful agrichemicals -- paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos.

She said that would boost public safety regarding the use of harmful chemicals in the farming sector and bolster sustainable farming practices.

"The National Hazardous Substances Committee should be honest about what it said to the public. We have seen no reason to extend the deadline," said Ms Prokchon.

"It is the right time for the ministry to show the public its sincerity for supporting sustainable farming in the country.

Regarding concerns raised by the Thai Chamber of Commerce over supply shortages in the food manufacturing industry, Ms Prokchon said that many countries have banned the use of paraquat for over a decade, while Vietnam banned chlorpyrifos in February 2019 and had seen no raw material shortages.

She also opposed attempts to renew the import licence for those three agrichemicals, saying that it is completely against the committee's previous solution to do away with them.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce has recently said imposing a ban on the agrichemicals could adversely affect stocks for crops such as yellow bean and wheat flour.

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