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Post Info TOPIC: I thought Laos ONLY practice organic farming?!

I thought Laos ONLY practice organic farming?!

Phongsaly farmers at risk from harmful chemicals

Vientiane Times, 18 Sep 2009

Despite the fact that Phongsaly authorities have banned agriculture
and forestry investors from importing chemical herbicides,
insecticides and pesticides from neighbouring countries, some local
people are still illegally trading the products.

Phongsaly has traditionally used a lot of these products in
agriculture, the provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department Deputy
Director, Mr Santi Keoyasane, told the Vientiane Times on Wednesday.

The use of these substances has caused significant negative impacts on
the environment, including landslides, animal deaths, and human health

Some farmers continue to use chemicals because the amount of labour
required for manual weeding of invasive grasses is high, Mr Santi

Although the effects of chemical herbicides on soil quality, wildlife,
livestock and public health can be lessened if used correctly under
the advice of technical experts and with proper protection, many
farmers lack such education.

Herbicide that is used to kill off weeds and shrubs, and insecticides
and pesticides used to protect crops on rubber tree plantations have
been known to affect animal and human health in surrounding areas, the
provincial agriculture section Head, Ms Douangchan Thamonty, said

Bountay and Samphan districts are heavily affected as there are a lot
of rubber tree plantations in these areas, but provincial authorities
have not yet determined exactly what chemicals are present in the
products applied, she said.

Local workers are at risk due to the lack of attention paid to
protecting themselves when they use these chemicals.

“Our challenge is difficult. Checking all farms for herbicide use is
not easy because of the proximity to neighbouring countries. People in
Laos can easily buy chemicals from those countries, and they do not
need to pass inspection by our staff,” said Ms Douangchan.

Sometimes shops and markets hide the products when agricultural staff
carry out inspections, but section officials can only make checks on
registered investors.

“At present, the important thing is to advise people on how to use the
products correctly, while trying to identify which herbicides,
insecticides and pesticides are being imported from these companies,”
she said.

To solve the problem, the section needs closer cooperation from the
agriculture and forestry sector and the companies involved.

Recently, the section has approached farmers in areas where staff have
received reports of impact and suggested they avoid using these
dangerous chemicals.


I remember some local Laotians complaining about Chinese exporting non-organic fruits and vegetables to Lao PDR. They also boast about Laotian farmers using only organic means for farming and fruits and vegetable cultivation. Am I mislead?

I hope somebody would take responsibility educating those farmers about the danger of chemicals. Some chemicals are too dangerous they can have long term negative impact on health and environment.

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