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Pesticides circular lacks safety push

Update: December, 18/2014 - 09:54
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HA NOI (VNS) — A draft circular on managing pesticide, compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, lacks stipulations that would help make Vietnamese-produced pesticide safer, officials said yesterday at a forum in Ha Noi.

Nguyen Van Thieu, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Pesticide Association, said at the forum that the items under the draft circular would make it more difficult for domestic companies to produce and trade pesticide.

Although it would be necessary to tighten management of pesticides, taking safety standards from other countries and applying them in Viet Nam would not work, Thieu said.

For example, current regulations state that safety testing must be done by certified laboratories before pesticides are imported into Viet Nam. But domestic companies have said the testing is too expensive. However, costs could be reduced, Thieu said, if testing were done in the country instead of abroad.

He said the circular also lacked provisions encouraging companies to use bio-products, or materials, chemicals and energy derived from renewable biological resources. The more environmentally friendly substances are expected to eventually replace pesticides using high levels of toxic chemicals, he said.

Tran Quang Hung, chairman of the pesticide association, said many items on the circular didn't make sense and were difficult to understand, which might lead to inconsistent implementation.

According to the association, shortcomings in policies as well as shortages of development-oriented policies were to blame for Viet Nam's underdeveloped pesticide production.

Pham Thi Thu Hang, the general secretary of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said a lack of Vietnamese pesticides forced the agricultural sector to import pesticides. It has paid US$1 billion for pesticides from foreign countries each year, she said.

Viet Nam has a lot of potential for producing pesticides, and high demand, she said. But for now Viet Nam only imports, extracts and packages pesticides.

Tran Oanh of the Viet Nam Plant Protection Association, said the Plant Protection Department – the body that monitors issues related to pesticide – should organise a meeting where companies and agencies can ask questions about the circular. — VNS

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