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Thailand enforces ban on maize imports from field burning regions

Thailand enforces ban on maize imports from field burning regionsLegacy

The Government of Thailand has given the green light to a ban on maize imports from regions notorious for field burning, a practice contributing to the annual smog crisis. This legislation is slated to come into force within the year.

This action is part of a broader strategy to mitigate the recurring smog issue, which the government primarily attributes to neighbouring nations.

Government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke revealed that the Cabinet has directed the Commerce Ministry to draft an order outlawing maize imports from regions where field burning is prevalent. This step is seen as a significant measure in fighting the yearly health-threatening smog.

He further explained that the decision was driven by the government’s concern about the air pollution resulting from field burning in adjacent countries. To establish the correlation between field burning and maize cultivation areas, officials will cross-reference hotspot maps, generated from satellite imagery, with these regions.

Chai assured that any imposed import bans will adhere to the pertinent World Trade Organisation rules. However, the actual enforcement of these bans will have to be postponed until the anticipated Clean Air Act is passed later this year.

The spokesperson also provided some figures, indicating that the annual market demand for maize in Thailand stands at 8.9 million tonnes. Local production, however, only reaches approximately 4.9 million tonnes per annum.

At present, Thailand imports around 1.6 million tonnes of maize from neighbouring countries. This includes between 600,000 and 700,000 tonnes from Myanmar, 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes from Laos, and roughly 100,000 tonnes from Cambodia.

An additional 2 million tonnes of maize is procured from other nations, with Brazil being the primary source.

In related news, the Government of Thailand has chosen not to declare Chiang Mai a disaster zone despite escalating air pollution, according to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. The decision was largely influenced by concerns that such a declaration could negatively impact the province’s tourism industry.

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