เครือข่ายเกษตรกรรมทางเลือกภาคอีสาน

New FTA Report from the Sustainable Ag Foundation

In Research on 07/01/2010 at 3:04 am

written by Sajin Prachason – Sustainable Agriculture Foundation (Thailand) and FTA Watch

From the report:

5) Adjustment to free trade does not simply happen and farmers are pushed to join contract farming.

When farmers are unable to compete with import products, they are told to adjust themselves to the new business environment or simply change to do other jobs.  But for many farmers adjustment means to continue growing the same crops because it is part of their lives and these very same crops had proved for years to provide them and their families with basic needs and some levels of luxury. For other farmers, adjustment means to join government programs or companies in contract farming.  This is especially true in Thailand since contract farming is promoted by many policy makers and organizations because of their promises on market access and guaranteed prices for farmers.  In fact, contract farming may be favourable for farmers if contracts are negotiated on equal footing and there is a mechanism to regulate and control unfair practices. But experiences in Thailand and elsewhere showed that farmers are usually put in a disadvantageous position in both the production and marketing sides. In addition, the government ignores the jobs of protecting and empowering the weaker, leaving farmers and companies to negotiate on their own capacities. Farmers are often required to put high investment in advance and obliged to buy expensive production factors from contracting companies. Price guarantee is not always straightforward. While some farmers may be lucky enough to cover their expenses, other farmers do not find this option a better alternative. Furthermore, in some cases, there are negative impacts on environment, farmers’ health and their social relations with others. In stead of becoming entrepreneurs, farmers become simply workers in their own land.

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