Where do these chemicals come from?

Note: This text was written in 2003, so some of the information may be out-of-date.

Most pesticides used in Thailand are imported. They enter the country in a highly concentrated form (called ‘active ingredient’) and are mixed with other ingredients (a process called ‘formulation’). The pesticides are packaged by wholesalers (who have their own brand names), and are sold by retailers.

The pesticide industry in Thailand involves:

  • 169 importers
  • 77 formulation companies
  • 501 wholesalers
  • 4,500 retailers

The use of pesticides has increased enormously in the past twenty years. By 2002, the amount of active ingredient being imported into Thailand was 39,000 tonnes, which was more than 4 times the amount in 1982.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, pesticides are “a highly lucrative business” worth 9,116 million Baht (US $225 million) per year. Foreign companies such as Bayer, Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow hold the largest share of the market. Some of the pesticides that these companies are selling in Thailand are banned in other countries because of the dangers to human health.

In addition to the official figures on pesticide use, many more pesticides are imported and formulated illegally and are sold often by unregistered traders.

Pesticides shop
A pesticide shop near Chanthaburi.
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