Farmers told to hand back toxic chemicals

Farmers told to hand back toxic chemicals

Ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos comes into force

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mananya Thaiset on Monday warned farmers to return their stocks of herbicide paraquat and pesticide chlorpyrifos within 90 days now that the ban on the two chemicals is in effect.

The deputy minister also vowed to push for a ban on glyphosate as she laid down guidelines for agricultural officials to follow in implementing the ban. The National Hazardous Substance Committee (NHSC) reversed its decision in November last year to lift the proposed ban on glyphosate.

Ms Mananya instructed agriculture officials to make sure that farmers are aware of the ban and return these two chemicals to sellers within 90 days to avoid legal action.

She warned that if farmers were arrested after the deadline, agricultural officials would be held accountable for malfeasance.

The ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos was endorsed when the Ministry of Industry decided on May 15 to place paraquat and chlorpyrifos on the list of hazardous chemicals and ban their use in the kingdom, effective from Monday. 

The chemicals are reclassified as Type 4 toxic substances and their production, import, export or possession is prohibited.

Acording to Ms Mananya, currently, about 21,000 tonnes of three chemicals are stockpiled in the country, compared with  26,000 tonnes recorded during the same time last year.

Ing-orn Panyakij, deputy chief of the Department of Agriculture, said yesterday farmers with the two chemicals in possession are required to return the substances to sellers by Aug 29.

She said shops must return the stocks to officials in their provinces no later than Sept 28 and manufacturers and importers must report the stocks within 270 days, or no later than Feb 25 next year, after which the chemicals will be destroyed.

Any person who possesses the illegal agrochemicals will be fined one million baht, jailed for 10 years, or both.

She said the Department of Agriculture has already prepared about 16 chemical and natural alternatives as substitutes for these chemicals but declined to discuss the details.

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