Min­istry lifts ban on her­bi­cides af­ter Kratie

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Kong Meta

THE Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries on Tues­day lifted its ban on the im­port, sup­ply and distri­bu­tion of her­bi­cides.

The min­istry had or­dered the ban on May 28 af­ter her­bi­cides were sus­pected in the death of 14 peo­ple and hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion of hun­dreds more in Kratie prov­ince ear­lier that month.

The cause of the deaths and ill­nesses was even­tu­ally linked to poi­soned rice wine.

The ban in­cluded hav­ing in­ter­na­tional-bor­der check­points to pre­vent il­le­gal im­ports of her­bi­cides and di­rected rel­e­vant de­part­ments to con­tinue rais­ing aware­ness on the risks of her­bi­cide us­age.

“In the case of il­le­gal im­ports of agri­cul­tural her­bi­cides, the pro­vin­cial agri­cul­ture de­part­ments to­gether with the in­spec­tion depart­ment will act swiftly to crack down on the mat­ter and en­sure farm­ers were not im­pacted,” the an­nounce­ment had read.

There are about 100 com­pa­nies im­port­ing agri­cul­tural her­bi­cides and fer­tilis­ers reg­is­tered with the min­istry.

Hean Van­horn, di­rec­tor of the Gen­eral Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture at the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, said while her­bi­cides were cleared of blame in the deaths of Kratie vil­lagers, they can still be dan­ger­ous to com­mu­ni­ties if they are used im­prop­erly.

“The ban was a tem­po­rary mea­sure while we in­ves­ti­gated [the deaths]. We will con­tinue to ed­u­cate peo­ple on the safe use of her­bi­cides.

“If peo­ple pour her­bi­cides in the wa­ter, there will be poi­son­ing cases again. We have al­ready checked all the agri­cul­tural her­bi­cides and their im­porters reg­is­tered with the min­istry,” he said.

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