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November 15, 2019

Excessive use of chemicals sets alarm bells ringing on food safety

  • Our economy is based on agriculture and our agricultural products have a good name. With changing lifestyles across the world, people are demanding safe food. Therefore, we would like to urge our farmers and peasants to use chemical inputs only when it is absolutely necessary.
    As Myanmar is an agro-based country and exports agro products, we must meet the standards set by the world. If our agricultural products are not up to the mark, it’ll be difficult for us to enter the world market.
    Excessive use of chemicals will have a negative impact on the acceptability of our agricultural products, both in the local and international markets. Trust and reliability is important in business. Trust once lost is hard to restore. Our farmers and peasants must try to be responsible producers for the sake of consumers.
    The government will help and support them, but farmers and peasants themselves must have the will to study. Crops that grew well in the past may no longer do so due to climate change. Planting methods may have to be changed. Continuous study must be made and appropriate and timely changes made.
    The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation is conducting training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and holding talks nationwide to educate farmers about reducing the use of chemicals and producing organic inputs.
    However, it has been found that farmers in some areas are using chemicals excessively due to lack of knowledge and lax enforcement of rules on use of chemical inputs.
    There are laws and bylaws necessary to the development of Myanmar’s agricultural sector that have yet to be drafted, and educational programmes in ethnic languages are also advisable.
    The government’s training is not enough to ensure production of safe food and prevention of damage to the ecosystem. We need cooperation from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the public, otherwise the people will continue to suffer from the negative consequences of fertilizer and pesticide use.
    Not only the ministry, but the CSOs must also encourage farmers to use GAP protocols in cultivating staples and export crops, in an effort to boost farmer incomes and develop Myanmar’s agricultural sector, which will contribute to economic growth.
    The situation in the agricultural sector has set alarm bells ringing to enforce strict rules on smuggling highly potent chemical inputs and educate farmers to ensure that if they use chemical inputs, they do so in the correct manner.

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