Minister of Agriculture in Cambodia Veng Sakhon yesterday urged his officials and stakeholders to strengthen efforts to prevent the sale of banned or counterfeit pesticides and fertilisers in the Kingdom.
He made the call during a meeting in Siem Reap province held to review work done by the ministry’s Agriculture Legislation Department last year and its plans for this year.
Mr Sakhon said while the demand for agricultural inputs is continuing to increase dramatically, there are challenges relating to the management of these inputs, including monitoring the sale of pesticides and fertilisers.
He said there are also problems in dealing with illegal imports due to limited research and dissemination of information.
“The Agriculture Legislation Department’s top officials, experts, traders and all stakeholders should jointly work towards resolving these problems,” Mr Sakhon said.
He said in order to effectively carry out agricultural material management work, especially the implementation of the Law on the Management of Pesticides and Fertilisers, all stakeholders have to continue to organise and widely disseminate the laws and regulations.
They should raise awareness about the consequences of using agricultural materials without following technical specifications and advise farmers to use natural fertilisers to produce organic crops, Mr Sakhon added.
“We have to continue inspections, strengthen law enforcement and especially pay attention to prevent the flow of banned pesticides and fertilisers as well as counterfeit and poor quality products,” he said.
Agricultural Legislation Department director Phum Ra said yesterday the department has been cooperating with the municipal and provincial agriculture departments and relevant authorities to beef up efforts to stop illegal imports of agricultural pesticides and fertilisers.
He said efforts include monitoring and cracking down on the sale of illegal agricultural pesticides and fertiliser at the business locations nationwide, providing training for farmers on the safe storage of agricultural pesticides and fertilisers and reminding them not to use banned products.
“The banned agricultural pesticides and fertilisers linger longer in vegetables and rice and seriously affect the health of consumers,” Mr Ra said.
An agricultural expert Yang Saing Koma said yesterday most illegal agricultural pesticides and fertilisers sold in the market are imported from Vietnam and Thailand.
“Some agricultural pesticides and fertilisers that have not been prohibited for use can also be hazardous to growers and consumers if not used properly according to technical standards,” he said. “Therefore more effort should be made to train farmers on the proper procedures and regularly monitor if they are applying what they have learned.”
Mr Saing Koma added the use of banned pesticides and fertilisers or even excessive use of permitted ones would have a negative impact on the health of consumers.
“If we consume foods with high agricultural pesticide residues, it will cause immediate and chronic poisoning. Immediate poisoning, in effect, will cause us to vomit and have diarrhea, while chronic poisoning means the chemical substance will slowly enter the body, and may develop into a disease in the next few years,” he said.