An advisor to Thailand’s agriculture minister has called on all parties concerned to come up with affordable and environmentally friendly bio-substances to replace three recently banned hazardous farm chemicals quickly.

Alongkorn Polobut said in his Facebook post today that, of the 73 bio-pesticides registered, none have been approved by the Department of Agriculture. Alternatives to the three banned chemicals, however, must be bio-substances which are affordable to the farmers, effective and environmentally friendly, said Alongkorn.

He added that the problem is that no such alternative has been found to be available so far, although some are still being tested, but it will take at least 1-3 years before they can be approved by the Department of Agriculture.

Citing the microbial pesticide produced and used for seven years, with apparently satisfactory results, by a sugarcane farmer in Suphan Buri province, Alongkorn said that the product has not been officially registered and will have to go through gruelling toxicological tests before it can be endorsed by the Department of Agriculture.

He also noted that the issue is sensitive because the producer of the microbial pesticide is linked to a political family in the Northeast and, therefore, promotion of the product for widespread use could be seen as a conflict of interest.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has scheduled a meeting for November 22nd to discuss measures to help farmers who will be affected by the ban and to discuss potential bio-substances to replace them.

Source