The committee, which had previously decided to impose the ban on all three farm chemicals from Dec 1, completed its term on Oct 26. Some members are new, while others are on the committee by virtue of their official positions.
Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, as the new chairman, said 24 of the 29 members of the panel attended the meeting at the ministry offices.
After considering the information put before them, they agreed unanimously to lift the prohibition on glyphosate and postpone the ban on chlorpyrifos and paraquat until June 1 next year, he said.
For glyphosate, the committee re-adopted the previous resolution of May 23 last year, to limit its use instead of banning it, he said.
The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry would work out measures to cope with the impacts of the new resolution within four months. This would include the issue of alternatives for paraquat and chlorpyrifos, Mr Suriya said.
The new resolution announced on Wednesday dealt a last-minute blow to conservationists and health activists, who had lauded the Oct 22 resolution of the previous committee to ban the three toxic farm chemicals from this Sunday (Dec 1).
"The Dec 1 ban of the Oct 22 resolution is very short period and would have severe impacts that would also reach consumers, because prices would rise," Mr Suriya said.
The new committee’s resolution followed several demonstrations by farmers and farm chemicals suppliers, who strongly opposed the immediate, total ban on the three chemicals, arguing it would reduce crop harvests and increase farm costs monumentally.
The resolution also followed a rally by about 1,000 farmers and chemical suppliers outside Government House on Tuesday against the imminent ban on the three toxic farm chemicals, demanding a thorough study of its impact on farmers and businesses.
The demonstrators were led by representatives from the Thai Agricultural Innovation Trade Association, the Thai Agro Business Association and the Thai Crop Protection Association.
According to the protesters, the Oct 22 resolution did not take into account new scientific evidence and the ban’s effect on farmers and the national economy.
In a written submission to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, they also said that at a public hearing on Nov 8, more than 70% of participants disagreed with the ban.
The government had also not proposed measures to mitigate the impact of the ban on farmers, agricultural and food industries as well as consumers, they said.
According to the submission, the ban would weaken the competitiveness of more than 2 million farming families by decreasing crop yields by 20-30% while raising costs by a threefold.
The protesters also asked the government to make reasonable alternatives for the three chemicals available.
They also demanded the government to at least postpone the ban until a thorough study on the ban’s impact on farmers, businesses and the economy is completed.