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The Transition from Conventional to Organic Rice Production in Northeastern Thailand: Prospect and Challenges

  • Natedao Taotawin
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 45)

Abstract

This chapter examines the process of market integration and its impact on farmer livelihoods and the environment and agriculture of northeastern Thailand. Using an anthropological approach and fieldwork conducted in the northeast of Thailand during 2008–2009, the chapter shows the way in which northeastern Thai farmers have integrated their practices into the ethical niche markets of fair trade and organic food. This chapter also illustrates the impacts of the buyer-driven food chains on social–nature relations in the northeast of Thailand and the changes that have occurred as a result. Competition in the organic trade market depends significantly on the capacity of farmers to comply with international regulations, so this paper will also focus on the distinctiveness of socio-economic and ecological conditions in northeastern Thailand, especially those which have contributed considerably to competition in fair trade products and organic rice commodities.

The chapter argues that conversion to organic agriculture is a strategy employed by northeastern Thai farmers in northeastern Thailand to cope with the problems of environmental deterioration and increasing production costs, yet the emergence of niche markets has brought both opportunities and challenges. The farmers participating in these niche markets can maintain their farmland and gain benefits from the value-added production they engage in, but they confront difficulties related to intensive labor-use, tighter standards and controls, and increasing production costs. In addition, the emergence of niche markets in northeastern Thailand has been an uneven process, as the majority of farmers have been excluded from the rise of niche markets and have not been able to convert to organic agriculture because of a lack of technical knowledge and finances.

Keywords

Organic Agriculture Fair Trade Green Revolution Niche Market Commodity Chain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social ScienceChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand

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