PESTICIDES & HERBICIDES & NUMPTYCIDES IN THAILAND Chemical use in Thailand Agriculture
Thailand is number one in the world in the application of chemicals in agriculture!
Agriculture in Thailand is highly competitive, diversified and specialised and its exports are very successful internationally. Rice is the country's most important crop, with some 60 percent of Thailand's 13 million farmers growing it on half of Thailand's cultivated land. Thailand is a major exporter in the world rice market. Rice exports in 2014 amounted to 1.3 percent of GDP. Agricultural production as a whole accounts for an estimated 9-10.5 percent of Thai GDP. Forty percent of the population work in agriculture-related jobs. The farmland they work was valued at US$2,945 per rai (0.395 acre; 0.16 ha) in 2013. Most Thai farmers own fewer than eight hectares (50 rai) of land.
Other agricultural commodities produced include fish & fishery products, tapioca, rubber, grain, and sugar. Exports of industrially processed foods such as canned tuna, pineapples, & frozen shrimp are on the rise.
As sectors other than farming developed, labourers went in search of work in other sectors of the economy & agriculture was forced to become less labour-intensive & more industrialised. Aided by state laws forcing banks to provide cheap credit to the agricultural sector & by providing its own credit through the Bank for Agriculture & Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC). The state further invested in education, irrigation, and rural roads. The result was that agriculture continued to grow at 2.2 percent between 1983 and 2007, but also that agriculture now only provides half of rural jobs as farmers took advantage of the investment to diversify.
As agriculture declined in relative financial importance in terms of income, with rising industrialization and Westernisation of Thailand from the 1960s, it continued to provide the benefits of employment and self-sufficiency, rural social support, and cultural custody. Technical and economic globalisation have continued to change agriculture to a food industry which exposed smallholders to such an extent that environmental and human values have declined markedly in all but the poorer areas.
The debt profile of small-scale Thai farmers is perilous. The UN estimates that Thai farmers who owned their own land declined from 44 percent in 2004 to just 15 percent in 2011. Farmers have accumulated 338 billion baht in debt. In 2013, the average household debt in Thailand's northeast was 78,648 baht, slightly lower than the national average of 82,572 baht, according to Thailand's Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE). But the region's average monthly household income, at 19,181 baht, was also lower than the national average, 25,194 baht, according to the National Statistics Office. New technologies have also pushed up the entry cost of farming and made it harder for farmers to own their land and fund production. Many farmers have turned to loan sharks to finance their operations. In 2015, nearly 150,000 farmers borrowed 21.59 billion baht from these lenders, according to the Provincial Administration Department.
According to the Thai government's The Eleventh National Economic and Social Development Plan (2012-2016), Thailand is number one in the world in the application of chemicals in agriculture. The report stated that, "The use of chemicals in the agricultural and industrial sectors is growing while control mechanisms are ineffective making Thailand rank first in the world in the use of registered chemicals in agriculture."
In 2018 Thai researchers and the Health Ministry called for an outright ban on the use of the agricultural chemicals paraquat, glyphosate, and chlorpyrifos. Paraquat and glyphosate are widely used herbicides. Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide. All are known to hazardous to humans and the ecosystem. The ban is opposed by agricultural interests and the Agriculture Ministry, which claims that a paraquat ban alone would lead to 40 billion baht in losses for the agricultural sector. Paraquat, whose use is banned by 47 to 53 nations (sources vary), is permitted for agricultural use in Thailand. It is sold under various trade names: Crisquat, Cyclone, Dextrone, Gramoxone Extra, Herbaxone, Ortho Weed and Spot Killer, and Sweep. Thailand imported 30,441 tonnes of paraquat in 2015, 31,525 tonnes in 2016, and 44,501 tonnes in 2017. In 2011 and 2012, researchers in Nan Province found paraquat contamination in all vegetables and fish sampled. In Lampang and Lamphun Provinces in 2017, tap water in 21 communities was found to be contaminated with paraquat. Vegetable samples from the area were also contaminated. In May 2018 the Hazardous Substance Committee voted 18–6 in favor of allowing the continued use of the three toxic chemicals, albeit with tighter controls. The committee said there were insufficient studies confirming they were health hazards. About 17 countries limit the use of all three chemicals.