Rally against ban on 3 farm chemicals

Rally against ban on 3 farm chemicals

Black-clad farmers holding banners identifying themselves as sugarcane farmers from Surin join the rally against the ban on three farm chemicals, at Government House in Bangkok on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Black-clad farmers holding banners identifying themselves as sugarcane farmers from Surin join the rally against the ban on three farm chemicals, at Government House in Bangkok on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

About 1,000 black-clad farmers and chemical suppliers rallied outside Government House on Tuesday against a planned ban on three toxic farm chemicals, demanding a thorough study of the impact on farmers and businesses.

The demonstrators were led by representatives of the Thai Agricultural Innovation Trade Association, the Thai Agro Business Association and the Thai Crop Protection Association.

They objected to the decision by the  National Committee on Hazardous Substances on Oct 22 to ban two herbicides, paraquat and glyphosate, and the pesticide chlorpyrifos from Dec 1 because they pose a risk to health.

According to the three associations, the Oct 22 resolution did not take into account new scientific evidence, and the effect on farmers and the national economy.

In a written submission to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha they also said that at a public hearing on Nov 8 more than 70% of participants disagreed with the ban.

The government had also not proposed measures to relieve the impact of the ban on farmers, the agricultural and food industries, and consumers.

According to the submission, the ban would weaken the competitiveness of more than 2 million farm families, whose crop yields would fall 20-30% and their costs soar three-fold.

The submission asked the government to review the Oct 22 resolution and make available reasonable  alternatives for the three targeted chemicals. The demonstrators wanted the government to at the least postpone the ban until a thorough study has been made of the impact on farmers, businesses and the economy.

The demonstrators also gathered outside the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, and planned to visit the Industry Ministry, where the minister, Suriya Juangroongruangkit, is expected to chair a meeting of the National Committee on Hazardous Substances on Wednesday.


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