Danida teaches Thai farmers to reduce chemical usage

Besides the benefit of reducing pesticide and toxic-chemical usage, which helps improve food safety of Thai farm products, the Danish funded “Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) project has also helped Thai farmers reduce their costs.
     Chanthaburi longan farmer Sompop Malathong, who follows IPM’s teaching and not using chemical pesticide, told Thai newspaper The Nation that his production cost was significantly lowered as he followed the project’s methods.
     The newspaper quoted him as saying the most obvious benefit he gained from this project was that the production cost has been lowered by 30 percent after reducing the use of chemicals.
     The Danish government, through Danish International Development Assistance (Danida), has given DKK20 million kroner (Bt126 million) for the IPM project which began in March 2001 and is scheduled to run until February this year. The project aims to reduce pesticide and toxic-chemical usage by educating Thai farmers to use natural substances extracted from natural plants to kill insects instead.
     Hein Bijlmakers, chief technical adviser to IPM Danida, told The Nation that the project aimed to ensure food safety for both farmers and consumers in Thailand.
     He said Thai farmers were still using chemical materials such as paraquat, endosulfan and methylparathion, which the European Union has prohibited for use with farm products.
     “There is more concern over food safety around the globe, especially in Europe. The Thai government is concerned about it. It would be good if the pesticide and toxic-chemical usage in Thailand can be reduced as the country is entering into Food Safety Year and exports farm goods to other countries,” said Bijlmakers.

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