BANGKOK(NNT) - Following the National Hazardous Substances Committee’s resolution to prohibit the use and distribution of three toxic farm chemicals, namely paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos, which will take effect on December 1 this year, the Department of Agriculture has now asked for a six-month deadline extension. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mananya Thaiset, has insisted that the committee’s resolution will remain in effect, as additional measures to support farmers have been prepared.
After delivering the government’s work policy to the cooperatives offices nationwide, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives instructed them to visit farm chemical shops in their areas and notify vendors about issues relating to the three toxic substances. The cooperatives officers have to take pictures and make records of the shops’ stocks, to make sure that the three substances will no longer be used or distributed, starting next month.
Ms. Mananya said the Cooperative Promotion Department is to help farmers with using alternatives and agricultural machinery, such as tractors and mowers. The department is to assist farmers who have registered with the government, with the operating cost of 120 to 130 baht per .06 hectares. Farmers are able to seek loans from the Cooperative Development Fund to purchase small agricultural machinery. For larger machinery, the government will provide financial support to cooperative members whose qualifications have been approved. Since mid-November, 169 cooperative offices, with more than 100,000 members, have signed up to the project. Most of them are corn, sugarcane, cassava, para rubber, palm oil and fruit farmers.
According to the ministry’s timeline, a meeting with the cooperative members is to be held on December 3. A 200-million-baht budget proposal is to be submitted between December 9 and 13. From December 16 to 27, cooperatives officers will meet with farmers to provide guidance. From January 2 to 17 next year, the Cooperative Promotion Department will oversee the hiring and procurement procedures, and the machinery should arrive in April, ahead of the new growing season.