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Thailand Administrative Court Delays Toxic Chemical Ban Ruling

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The judges also heard testimony from 10 witnesses who oppose the chemical ban, led by farmers’ representatives Anchulee Lak-amnuayporn and two former chiefs of the Department of Agriculture (DoA).

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An Administrative Court in Thailand has postponed a ruling on a petition seeking an injunction to suspend the ban on three toxic farm chemicals.

The petition was filed on Monday by Asa Rak Mae Klong Group. A network of fruit growers in six provinces — Chanthaburi, Ratchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Rayong, Suphan Buri and Nakhon Ratchasima.

More than 1,000 farmers in the group want the Administrative Court to help them. They are worried a change to other methods of pest control chemicals will be more expensive. Forcing them to shoulder a heavier financial burden that they cannot afford.

They asked for the injunction to be issued, claiming the process of banning the chemicals had been flawed.

The chemical ban is due to take effect from Dec 1.

After spending the day listening to witnesses, the judges on Wednesday announced the Administrative Court needed to study further information, but did not specify when they will hand down their ruling.

The judges also heard testimony from 10 witnesses who oppose the ban, led by farmers’ representatives Anchulee Lak-amnuayporn and two former chiefs of the Department of Agriculture (DoA).

“Bringing the case to court is the last resort to seek justice,” Anan Dalodom, who was previously in charge of the DoA, told the media before entering the court.

Mr Anan accused the National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC) of issuing the chemical ban without any “real” farmers’ on the committee. And also without a thorough study of the impact and alternatives to replace the chemicals. They have threatened to lodge a huge bill for damages if their concerns are not heard.

The NHSC last Friday decided to ban the three popular yet toxic farm chemicals. The first two are herbicides — paraquat and glyphosate, and the third is chlorpyrifos, an insecticide.

Paraquat, found by researchers to have residues that can effect pregnant women. The chemical has been banned in more than 50 nations.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Chalermchai Sri-on yesterday ordered a special committee to be formed to assist farmers affected by the chemical ban. The committee will find innovations and alternatives to replace the three chemicals.

“The ministry regards this issue as its top priority. The ban will affect legions of farmers. So we need to prepare for alternatives and innovations that can help them cope with the transition,” he said. Adding the committee must find this information out before the ban kicks in.

Source: Bangkok Post