Thailand should impose a ban on burning of stubble from corn and other crops to reduce emissions of CO2 as the Europeon Union (EU) has started to enforce the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) which allows for a price to be put on the carbon emitted during the production of carbon-intensive goods entering the EU, Thai Food Mill Association (TFMA) Pornsil Patcharintanakul said.
Mr Pornsil said the PM2.5 dust, which has affected the northern part of Thailand, is a regional problem. Much of the polluting dust comes from neighbouring countries, he said. It is not clear whether the hotspots in the neighbouring countries are from wildfires or burning of crops. Therefore, to tackle this problem, government-to-government cooperation is needed, he added.
In order for Thailand to ask other countries to stop the burning, Thailand itself must put an end to this practice in the country.
Currently, Thailand has not imposed a ban on burning of stubble. It has only asked planters not to burn the stubble or burn it during a certain period, he said.
Mr Pornsil said it is now time for Thailand to ban all burning activities in line with the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) - a certification system for agriculture, specifying procedures that must be implemented to create food for consumers or further processing that is safe and wholesome, using sustainable methods.
The ban will lead to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the country's food production process.
The EU, an important trade partner for Thailand, has started enforcing the CBAM, which allows for a price to be put on the carbon emitted during the production of carbon intensive goods that are entering the EU. Therefore, he said, it is necessary for Thailand to follow the GAP standard.
Thailand is a food exporter. If the food production process is marred with carbon emissions, Thai food exports may be subject to a price adjustment under the CBAM.
This would cause Thailand to risk losing competitiveness in the world market and affect its food industry and the economy as a whole.
He said the TFMA has sought a meeting with the minister of agriculture to propose measures to prevent the risk.