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Ministry bans Tricyclazole imports

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
The government wants rice farmers to stop using agricultural pesticides containing Tricyclazole. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) on Monday announced it will ban all imports and agricultural pesticides containing the fungicide Tricyclazole in response to the strict new Maximum Result Limit set by the European Commission.
The announcement comes a week after the ministry set up a task force to ban the fungicide, which came just days after the European Commission announced that Cambodia’s milled rice industry must eradicate the use of the Tricyclazole by June or face import bans.
The Maximum Result Limit means that rice must not contain more than 0.01 milligram of the chemical per kilogram of the grain.
According to the announcement, signed by Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon, all farmers must stop using agricultural pesticides containing Tricyclazole and all businesses, retailers and wholesalers must stop importing and selling the fungicide.
In addition, the department of agricultural legislation must stop registering and allowing companies to import the chemical.
It added that the General Department of Agriculture must try to find another agricultural pesticide that does not contain Tricyclazole, while provincial agricultural departments must inspect and educate agricultural pesticide retailers and farmers to not use or sell the fungicide.
Phum Ra, acting director of the department of agricultural legislation, told Khmer Times yesterday that Tricyclazole was not a restricted pesticide and that imports were allowed as it was used to control rice blast disease in the past.
However, he added that the European Commission’s announcement on the Maximum Result Limit could result in a ban on Cambodian milled rice exports so the ministry decided to stop using and registering the chemical.
“Tricyclazole is used by farmers to control rice blast disease which can be extensive due to the ability of the fungus to thrive under favorable conditions.
“The limit of 0.01 milligram of Tricyclazole in the rice is too low, it will not affect people’s health,” he said, adding that about 20 to 30 companies were registered to import the fungicide within his department. On March 20, the European Commission said rice farmers in Cambodia must stop the use of Tricyclazole by June.
The same day, agricultural representatives from the European Commission met with stakeholders from Cambodia’s rice industry to inform them about the new minimal residual limits for Tricyclazole.
Hean Vanhan, director-general for the general directorate of agriculture at the ministry, said last week that the ministry’s task force will have experts from his department and other sections of MAFF.
“They will work together to collect as much information as possible on the use of the fungicide by rice farmers and conduct tests with rice samples collected from local markets to detect the presence of Tricyclazole,” he said.
“Europe is one of our big rice importers and we have to take immediate action to avoid any problems.”
Mr. Vanhan said experts from the ministry will go directly to the big markets in Phnom Penh to test the milled rice sold by traders for Tricyclazole residue and will conduct inspections of all licensed fertilizer and pesticide importers to ensure they are not importing the fungicide.
Hun Lak, vice president of CRF, said his federation is cooperating with EU representatives to conduct research in rice-producing provinces nationwide.  
“Currently our rice is not contaminated, but we have to be careful to keep it that way, because the EU market represents more than 50 percent of our total exports of milled rice.”

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