The Ministry of Agriculture is preparing to move 13 herbs and spices local farmers use as green pesticides into a lower toxicity classification in a bid to promote green agriculture.
Mananya Thaiset, deputy agricultural minister, told the media in a press briefing yesterday that the Department of Agriculture wants the Hazardous Substances Control Bureau to put the 13 herbs in the Type 1 tier.
These 13 herbs were moved to the more tightly controlled Type 2 level in 2013 from their original classification as Type 1 in 2009. Before that, local farmers had used these herbs freely as natural weed and pest control.
These 13 herbs are; neem, tea/tea seed cake, galangal, ginger, turmeric, citronella grass, Siam weed, marigold, chilli, celery, ringworm bush, flame lily and Stemona collinsiae.
Ms Manaya said the change is aimed at making natural insecticides more convenient to use.
"Farmers can benefit from the change as they can now extract the chemicals they need from the plants to make natural insecticides and herbicides freely and do not have to ask for permission first," she said.
Ing-orn Punyakit, deputy director-general of Department of Agriculture, said Type 1 chemicals are less harmful and have less prohibitions while Type 2 requires users to register their use which can be a lengthy and costly process.
However, the reclassification alone will not be enough to encourage green pesticide use, according to Prapat Panyachatraksa, chairperson of National Farmers Council.
He said 13 herbs should not be in either tier of hazardous substances and urged the ministry to endorse free use to boost organic farming.