Group Delivers Joint Letter to Prime Minister Urging Consideration of Hard-Working Farmers / Protection of their access to Safe & Effective 21st Century Tools to Meet 'Thailand 4.0' Goals
BANGKOK, Sept. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As a Thailand Government review of three crop protection chemicals for potential banning or restriction continues, an unprecedented collection of leading national and regional agricultural organizations have joined forces to express their support for Thailand Farmers and their access to the innovative technologies they depend on -- including the responsible use of safe and effective pesticides.
Members of this growing group - Thai Agro Business Association (TABA), Thai Crop Protection Association (TCPA), and CropLife Asia among others - personally delivered a letter recently to the Office of the Prime Minister sharing this sentiment and conducted a briefing for members of the media today.
"Thailand Farmers deserve solutions and our support -- not scare tactics peddled by activists," said Mr. Pramote Tirapraiwong, President of the Thai Agro Business Association (TABA). "The Thai men and women who grow our food are the unsung heroes of our nation, and we owe it to them to protect their right to the safe and effective tools they need to compete. That's what the letter and today's meeting with media is all about -- putting the farmers first."
The letter details a dire situation if the three crop protection chemicals being reviewed are placed beyond the grasp of Thailand Farmers.
Specifically, the insecticide being considered for banning or restriction is a critical component in driving Thailand's prolific fruit export market. It's estimated that the export value of Thai fruit is valued at close to 100 billion baht in total and the figure has grown by 30% annually each of the past five years. With the strong overseas market demand for Thai fruit, the removal of this insecticide as well as other safe and effective crop protection chemicals would be catastrophic for Thailand.
Additionally, the two herbicides being considered for banning or restriction are critical tools for Thailand Farmers in combatting weeds with key crops such as rubber, oil palm, cassava, rice, corn, and sugar cane. Likely implications from denying Thailand Farmers' access to these two herbicides include: weed control costs for growers in Thailand rising by an estimated range of 8.1 billion to 70 billion baht; and a loss of yield of roughly 4.7 million tons, worth a projected range of 13.5 billion to 100 billion baht.
"Last month, Thailand Farmers from all over the nation spoke clearly, strongly and with one voice to ask for more access to crop protection technology -- not less," said Ms. Wachareeporn Panphumpluek, President of the Thai Crop Protection Association (TCPA). "The 21st Century challenges of battling climate change, and increased droughts, floods, pests, weeds and disease require 21st Century tools. That includes the responsible use of safe, effective and innovative crop protection technology."
As part of the review of the three chemicals in question, the Thailand Department of Agriculture conducted public hearings during the month of August across the nation. These were held in the provinces of Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Khonkan, and Bangkok; and hundreds of Thailand Farmers participated to share their experiences and express their need for continued access to these 3 safe and effective pesticides which they said have been widely used as instructed with no health issues for decades.
Meanwhile, the role of crop protection innovations in driving agricultural production in Thailand and around the world remains unquestioned. All told, 50% of global food production would be lost to pests, weeds, and disease if not for game-changing technology that crop protection products deliver.
At the same time, the technology also provides a key humanitarian benefit in aiding Thailand Farmers by lifting the burden of the out-of-date and inefficient practice of hand weeding. In the absence of herbicides, hand weeding just one hectare takes roughly 126 hours and requires walking about 10 km in a stooped position. Eliminating the need for this back-breaking practice has been greatly beneficial to the health of many Thailand Farmers as well as their family members.
The return to these practices and loss of decades of national agricultural progress would also run counter to the Thai Government's ambitious initiative, 'Thailand 4.0'. This roadmap for future growth in the country includes provisions designed to drive Thailand agricultural productivity through greater efficiency and more effective use of technology -- not the elimination of technology.
Note: All data related to potential loss of use with three chemicals being reviewed were extracted from reports prepared by PG Economics
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