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Thailand's reliance on pesticides reveals dangers of foods


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A Thai farmer sprays pesticide on rice crops in Suphanburi, Thailand. /CGTN

 

By Dusita Saokaew

 

The sun rises over Thailand's endless rice fields. Farmers tend to the crops, partaking in a rich culture with centuries-old traditions. It's a perfect snapshot of life that has hardly changed.

 

The fields then empty as a white mist descends. The residue on the leaves paves a poisonous and toxic path. In modern Thailand, this has become the snapshot of farming.

 

Chatchai Thiangtham, a mandarin farmer in Bang Mot, a district on the outskirts of Bangkok famous for its mandarins, sprays his groves with pesticides up to three times a week. What he sprays are toxic pesticides that are banned in many countries around the world. Chatchai knows that after decades on his field, his exposure is high but like many farmers, he says he has no choice.

 

Full story: https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-10-16/Thailand-s-reliance-on-pesticides-reveals-dangers-of-foods--14plWN8KKXe/index.html

 

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-- © Copyright CGTN 2021-10-18
 
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43 minutes ago, heybruce said:

Did you read the full article?

 

"Like Boonme, many farmers are finding that recommended doses of pesticides fail to kill crop-eating insects and so they dump chemicals on their fields far in excess of safety levels. Even after harvesting, food may be doused with chemicals which can remain on food when it hits the marketplace."

This problem is not unique to Thailand.  It exists anywhere enforcement is lax or completely lacking.

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32 minutes ago, meechai said:

Sadly it is not just the foods....

Ever notice how many cancer patients in many rural farming villages?

 

Ever notice how shallow the ground water wells are in those villages?

My SIL next door...her well water surface is probably 6-8 feet/2-3 meters max from surface

 

So pretty much any poisons used on crops perk down into the ground water

 

Add to that things like the nice fogging that goes on many village streets to control mosquitoes etc etc

 

Last but not least the yearly air pollution months & well you have a quite unhealthy life...but hey 🙄

Are you saying living in Bangkok etc is more healthy?

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My inlaws have been trying to get local farmers to go organic, but it's hard work as all the helpful critters have been killed as well. Using tonnes of pesticides is completely ingrained into the psychy now

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Wife's aunt poo pooed the idea of brother-in-law growing organic vegetables.  She said she was making good money growing vegetables with all chemicals possible thrown in to sell at the market in Korat.  But she didn't eat the vegetables herself because she thought the chemicals might be dangerous.  Later she hit hard times and asked for a job growing organic vegetables but we didn't hire her.

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40 minutes ago, ourmanflint said:

My inlaws have been trying to get local farmers to go organic, but it's hard work as all the helpful critters have been killed as well. Using tonnes of pesticides is completely ingrained into the psychy now

We offered a 34 rai rice field rent free for a few years on condition no chemicals.  None of the villagers were interested. It is difficult and you probably have to own the land to have the motivation as it takes some years for the land to become productive going cold turkey from chemicals. Also difficult if all fields around you are using pesticide as the pests congregate on your land and chemicals leach into your soil.  We had some success for for a few years but gave up as the labour costs for small holdings you don't work yourself are too high.  It makes more sense financially to rent out the land or leave it empty and buy organic rice in the market. Hard for small holders to make money from rice unless they do most of the work themselves. 

 

But the price of rice land I bought in 2008 for 40k a rai is now probably over 250k a rai.  So I don't care, if it is not productive and there are often problems collecting rent from farmers anyway.  But it's sad that low interest rates and speculation for years have driven up the price of Thai agricultural land to levels where it now longer makes any economic sense to buy it to grow rice on it. That combined with average age of farmers around 60, no meaningful government policies to improve yields and support farmers and an obsession with supporting petrochemicals and agribusiness companies seems to imply the future of independent Thai rice farmers is totally doomed.

Edited by Dogmatix
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16 hours ago, ThaIrish Sean said:

Proof that beer is better than fruit for a healthy long life 🤣

In that case it will need to be beer made from organic grains.

 

Almost all conventionally grown grain crops, whether cereal or beans,, are treated with glyphosate shortly before harvest.

Why? - Because the plant dies and while doing so all the grains ripen together, increasing yield and permitting easier threshing. And, added bonus, the weed-free soil is left ready for planting the next crop.

 

Note also that "organic" in Thailand (as in China) does not denote a reasonable absence of synthetic agricultural chemicals. Several years ago there was an article, probably in 'The Bangkok Post', maybe 'The Nation', about two Thai consumer organisations that sent samples of crops from conventional and "organic" sources to the U.K. for analysis. The results were shocking: conventional agriculture, horrendously high rates; "organic" agriculture, high, but less so.

 

Note to those who think you can wash off agricultural chemicals. Nowadays they are designed not to be washed off, but to enter the crop where rain will have no effect: so-called systemic pesticides and fungicides.

 

When a farmer converts from conventional agriculture to organic, the poisons in the soil do not simply disappear overnight. In biodynamic agriculture (at least in the U.K.) the farmer must have converted at least seven years previously before he can call his produce biodynamic.

 

Modern varieties are designed for yield. Very successfully so. Yield of weight (thanks partially to high uptake of irrigation water, at the expense of nutrient density). In many cases they cannot be grown without artificial fertilisers. And they are more susceptible to insect pests and diseases. With tconsequences that are obvious.

 

And one has not even touched upon the destruction of the life of the soil, which resides in the organisms and micro-organisms that dwell therein.. Nor upon spaced crop rotations, the laying fallow of fields, and grazing by domestic animals, the role of trees in pumping micronutrients from the sub-soil, etc., etc.

 

Organic farming cannot be practised by simply abstaining from the use of synthetic chemicals.

 

Government and private institutions have an important role to play in educating both farmers, distributors, and consumers in the important role that the various forms of organic agriculture have to play in restoring public health, halting soil degradation, and reducing fossil fuel dependence..

 

And if large numbers of urban dwellers should find themselves permanently out of work in an ongoing economic crisis (which has yet to take shape) a return to rural, village based, life-styles may offer a partial solution.

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23 hours ago, ericbj said:

Almost all conventionally grown grain crops, whether cereal or beans,, are treated with glyphosate shortly before harvest.

Why? - Because the plant dies and while doing so all the grains ripen together, increasing yield and permitting easier threshing. And, added bonus, the weed-free soil is left ready for planting the next crop.

That my son is BS, the only crop that is sprayed with glyphosate before harvest is Oil Seed Rape ,or Canola ,and with OSR a lot is cut and dried on the surface of the stubble for a week before harvest.,not sprayed with any chemicals.

 

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