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Agriculture ministry halts imports of pesticides

Agriculture ministry halts imports of pesticides

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has temporarily halted the import, supply and distribution of all pesticides.

The ban comes after at least 14 people died and around 300 were warded after poisonings in Sre Norn and Alorch villages in Chet Borey district’s Kantuot commune in Kratie province, earlier this month.

Water samples from the area were found to contain pesticides, the Ministry of Health said.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon on Friday ordered all pesticide businesses to temporarily cease activities until provincial and municipal agriculture experts have further investigated the incident.

The Ministry of Agriculture said it is checking if those using chemical pesticides knew how to use them effectively and safely.

The director of the Department of Agricultural Legislation at the Ministry of Agriculture, Phum Ra, told The Post on Sunday that around 100 companies importing agricultural pesticides and fertilisers have registered with the ministry.

He said he suspected the problem lay with illegal companies that used such chemicals with disregard for public health and the environment.

Illegal pesticide and fertiliser use has come under the microscope after the discovery of toxic substances in the Prek Te and Korki streams in Kratie, and highlights the harm done through illegally importing the chemicals into Cambodia.

“Until we have [uncovered the cause of the Kratie poisonings] we are temporarily stopping the import of all pesticides,” Phum Ra said.

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