Farmers reject chemical ban

Farmers reject chemical ban

Bid for court order over paraquat use

A group of farmers on Wednesday vowed to renew a bid to obtain a court injunction to suspend a ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos, due to take effect on June 1, claiming the ban will hurt productivity and adversely affect crop farming.

Sukan Sangwatthana, secretary-general of the Agricultural Safety Association (ASA), said his association would join hands with groups of farmers and growers of six cash crops -- rubber, oil palm, sugar cane, cassava, corn and tropical fruit -- to petition the Administrative Court for a injunction to suspend the ban.

An announcement by the Industry Ministry, which heralded the ban on the farm chemicals, was on Wednesday published on the website of the Royal Gazette and is due to to take effect on June 1.

According to Mr Sukan, the farmers will be left with no choice when the ban on the chemicals takes effect. There will be no substitutes for the chemicals and the government has not yet come up with measures to mitigate the impact of the ban on the farmers.

Without the two chemicals, the farmers will be forced to use other milder chemicals. As they will have to use a lot of them to achieve the same effect, this will substantially push up the cost of production, Mr Sukan said.

He also threatened to file a lawsuit against parties involved in implementing the ban, including Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, the National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC), the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, the Department of Agriculture, and the non-governmental organisations supporting the ban.

Meanwhile, Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), said the TCC has set up a committee to compile opinions by all parties concerned, including businesses, farmers and consumers, regarding the ban of the chemicals.

The opinions will be forwarded to the government with a request for relaxing the ban, he said.

Last Friday the Supreme Administrative Court upheld a lower court decision to dismiss a petition asking it to revoke a ban on three toxic farm chemicals on the grounds the ban has yet to take effect.

The petition was lodged by the Asa Rak Mae Klong Group, a network of fruit growers in Chanthaburi, Ratchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Rayong, Suphan Buri and Nakhon Ratchasima.

The group wanted a decision by the NHSC to ban paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos nullified.


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