Two Decades of the Rice Economy of Thailand (in English)
Orawan Butso and Somporn Isvilanonda
This paper investigates the transitions in Thai rice economy and farm household income structure. It also describes the impacts of the changes on income inequalities and poverty indices during 1987/88 and 2007/08 crop years. The cost of rice production has continuously increased over time, contributing to declining returns despite increasing yields. This suggests that the most effective way to raise farmer income is to reduce their production cost without reducing yields. Practices should be promoted that reduce production costs and maintain yields, especially in the use of seed and fertilizer. As to household income structure, the non-agricultural sector contributed a significant and increasing proportion of the farm household’s income, except in irrigated areas where rice farming still contributes the major part of the total income of households. Income inequality increased over the two decades. This inequality occurred in the income from rice farming, but other sources of inequality were in the other farm income and agriculture hired labor income. Despite this growing inequality, there was an improvement in poverty situation during the period. The incidence of poverty was lower in irrigated development villages.
Keywords: rice, income distribution, poverty reduction
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