Thai PBS, 15 December 2015
Amid mounting protests from farmers and environment groups, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on Tuesday ordered the shelving of the controversial biological safety bill or GMO farming bill on the ground that the bill is not necessary yet.
In a sudden U-turn from the government’s earlier standpoint to press ahead with the GMO bill, the prime minister explained that GMO crops were initiated by western countries as optional crops in case there is a world war and normal cultivation is not possible. But for the time being, there is no threat of a world war and therefore it is not necessary for Thailand to press for GMO farming, he said.
Government spokesman Maj-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, meanwhile, said that the Council of State informed the cabinet on Tuesday that GMO crops were a matter of the future and to issue a law on GMO farming now may not be appropriate and untimely.
Also, he said that the government was in the process of working out agriculture reforms which are yet to be completed.
Farmers protest against bill on GMO farming
By Visarut Sankham – The Nation, 10 December 2015
OPPONENTS to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) turned up in full force at key sites in 47 provinces yesterday to demand that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha suspend the Biological Safety Bill until it is properly amended.
In Bangkok alone, more than 500 people gathered at Government House to submit a petition to the premier via Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd.
The protesters hailed from more than 100 organisations, including Bio-diversity Sustainable Agricul-ture Food Sovereignty Action Thailand (BioThai), Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Foundation for Consumers.
“We demand that the PM refrain from forwarding the Biological Safety Bill to the National Legislative Assembly until it is improved,” BioThai director Witoon Liencham-roon said.
He added that a panel should be set up to amend the bill, and at least half of the panel’s members must represent entrepreneurs and farmers who could be affected by GMOs. Witoon said the bill should embrace a preventive approach by taking into account possible economic and social impacts on all stakeholders.