Groups of farmers have expressed different opinions about the proposed banning of three toxic farm chemicals in Thailand. Namely paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos.
One group of farmers who support the ban gathered in Surin province to voice their approval of a chemical ban.
A farmers’ group in Chiang Mai also came together to voice their support for the chemical ban. The group said the ban will help minimize negative effects on farmers in the long run. However, they called on relevant agencies to quickly find alternatives to the three toxic chemicals. Furthermore to provide information on chemical usage to farmers.
A group of people who oppose the ban said they were disappointed with the National Hazardous Substances Committee’s decision. The group said they will lodge a petition with the Administrative Court. Demanding an injunction to suspend the enforcement of the ban.
The group said they wanted the Ministry of Public Health’s resolution to be revoked as it was false and incomplete.
“It’s likely that we’ll file a petition with the Administrative Court on Monday to seek a court injunction to suspend the ban, following today’s resolution. We’ll also file a petition to revoke a public health committee’s resolution on the ban of the three chemicals because the information is incomplete and false. We’ll definitely seek a court injunction. All documents will be submitted as they will be used during the investigation process.”
Farmers Seek Cheaper Alternatives
“Paraquat is the least expensive. Farmers today are not stupid. There are still cheaper alternatives. They’re still using paraquat and glyphosate because they are cheap. We’re trying to adapt to survive. If you ask the farmers today, they’ll say the cost is still high. We have downgraded ourselves. However, we’ll accept the alternatives to paraquat and glyphosate but they must benefit society and consumers.”
The opposing group said they will submit a study on the side effects of toxic chemicals on mothers and children, as referred to by the Ministry of Public Health, to the court because no hospitals supported this study. The group said they will also ask the court to consider the farmers’ hardships and needs. Even though the Permanent Secretary for Industry, Pasu Loharjun, is not the chairman of the committee, he visited the group of farmers and gave them moral support. The group said the resolution must be accepted by all sides, and not just the government.
Meanwhile, retailers selling farm chemicals in Nan province said they agreed with the ban on the three chemicals and understood that the government was concerned for people’s health. However, they said the ban should take effect much later to give them more time to adapt. The government should also seek measures to ease the situation, as many large retailers had already ordered more chemicals, which would be on sale next year. The government should assist farmers by providing them with alternative chemicals that are equally effective and affordable.