THAILAND: FROM THE KITCHEN OF THE WORLD TO FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

 

By Isabelle Delforge*


Mr. Anek Silapapun is sitting in a bright and comfortable meeting room under a massive picture representing his company’s top executives showing their respect to the King of Thailand. He is the senior vice president of Crop Integration Business Group, affiliated to Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), Thailand’s largest corporate empire. CP Group’s core business is food production, but its activities stretch from seeds to telecom, and from animal feed to the franchise of the Seven-Eleven retail shops. The group’s sales in the year 2002 topped US$13 billion and its CEO Dhanin Cheravanont is the richest man in Thailand, worth about US$1.3 billion according to Forbes magazine. (1)

 

This scene captures the most striking contradictions of Thailand’s policies and practices o­n food, trade and agriculture: a worldwide exporter paying tribute to the nation’s most renowned advocate of a “sufficiency economy”; a major dealer in chemical agricultural inputs promoting sustainable and organic agriculture; and finally, a very wealthy agribusiness company building its empire o­n impoverished farmers.


For years, social movements in Thailand have been challenging the export-oriented economic strategy of the government. The success of the agribusiness sector has led to farmers’ bankruptcy, ecological devastation and social disaster. In their diversity, organisations of farmers, consumers, urban poor, NGOs and even some government bodies are now suggesting ways to break away from the cash-crop export-oriented strategy and to move towards a national strategy of food sovereignty.


1. “SUFFICIENCY ECONOMY” IN THE GLOBAL KITCHEN

CP Group’s ambition of becoming “the kitchen of the world”(2) has propelled the company to become o­ne of the largest agribusiness in Asia. After initial expansion in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and China, CP Food, affiliated to CP Group, is now entering the poorer parts of Europe and the Near East in its world conquest.(3) It is exporting processed food, seeds and feed around the world. Since 1971, the company has implemented some production practices learned in the USA, notably contract farming, in an environment still largely dominated by subsistence farmers. Explaining the recent company’s involvement in tea production in China, a CP executive said “The obvious thing would have been to plant a subsistence crop, but we felt that an entrepreneurial, commercial approach would bring greater benefit to the locals.” (4) For CP, food is business.


In a landmark speech in December 1997, the highly influential monarch addressed the Thai people traumatised by the crisis: “To be a tiger is not important. The important thing for us is to have a self-supporting economy. A self-supporting economy means to have enough to survive. About this, I have often said that a self-sufficient economy does not mean that each family must produce its own food, weave and sew its own clothes. This is going too far, but I mean that each village or each district must have relative self-sufficiency. Things that are produced in surplus can be sold, but should be sold in the same region, no too far so that the transportation cost is minimized. Some other people say that we must have an economy that involve exchange of goods that is called “trade economy”, not “self-sufficient economy” which is thought to be unsophisticated. However, Thailand is a country that is blessed with self-sufficient productivity…” (5)


According to this vision, food is survival, livelihood and local development.


Nevertheless, this major exporting company has forged a strong alliance with the King of Thailand who has been actively advocating domestic consumption and “sufficient economy” since the economic crisis in 1997. CP Group is involved in a new company called Suvarnachad Co. established under the patronage of the King of Thailand to create a retail network of “Golden Place” supermarkets. The new supermarkets distribute environmentally friendly goods to improve quality of life of rural Thais, improving their health as well as their marketing opportunities.(6) The company is also running a project promoting diversification among poor farmers in Buri Ram following the King’s concept.


DUAL TRACK: CONFLICTING POLICIES

Since then, in a schizophrenic move, the government has been talking about “sufficiency economy” while heavily supporting export-oriented agriculture. At the national level, the government has taken over Charoen Pokphand’s mission and set up a “Kitchen of the World” initiative chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. At the APEC Investment Mart in October 2003, the central piece of the Thai Pavilion was a “kitchen of the world” space boasting the success of the Thai agri-export sector. According to the WTO, Thailand ranked number five in the world leading food exporters in 2001.


However, Viroj Na Ranong, researcher at the Thailand Development Research Institute notes that public funds to support domestic markets and “sufficiency economy” remain insignificant compared to the policies implemented to encourage exports. “Most people like the concept of “sufficiency economy,” he explained. In Thai, we also speak about “contented economy”: you should be satisfied with what you have, you should not consume too much. It is close to the Buddhist philosophy. But politically, it hasn’t had any significant impact. The government tries to do a bit of everything at the same time. It gives some funds to please the King and the NGOs, but exporters always have the big share.”(7)


A government supporting two models at the same time is not a Thai speciality. Under consumers and farmers movement’s pressure, many governments are now showing some willingness to protect subsistence and sustainable farming and local food production. But at the same time, they keep promoting industrial agriculture for export, a model ideologically supported and imposed by the international financial institutions and backed by heavy pressure from agribusiness. This “dual track” is not o­nly flawed because of the overwhelming priority given to industrial agriculture. It is also inconsistent. o­n the long run, industrial agriculture undermines the chances for a successful “sufficiency economy” at economic, social and environmental level.


Promoting a “sufficiency economy” in an environment governed by free trade rules is not sustainable. Under various bilateral and multilateral agreements, Thailand has been opening up to the world market. Under the Agreement o­n Agriculture of the WTO, Thailand has to reduce import tariffs o­n agriculture at an average of 24% within 10 years from 1995 to 2005. As a result, farmers are increasingly subject to the volatility and the decline of commodity world prices. For example, from 1996 to 2002, the average price per ton o­n the world market of Thai rice has plummeted by 42%, from US$1213.69 to US$704.11.(8) Prices are going down because of the competition with cheap products imported from rich countries like Australia, the US and the European Union, but also from China. In Thailand, food imports are rising sharply. From 1993 to 2002, food imports have more than doubled, rising in value from 52 to 133 billion baht. (from US$2 billion to US$3 billion).(9)



Source: National Food Institute/Customs Department


At global level, o­nly 10% of agricultural production is sold o­n the world market while 90% is consumed in the country where it is grown. (10) Yet in the current neoliberal context, declining prices o­n the international markets are dictating prices at domestic level, even though most of the food never reaches the global market.


In such situation, small farmers trying to make a living o­n local and domestic markets may also have to sell their surpluses at prices below production costs. Even if they do not produce for export, they are de facto involved in the world market economy.


Market oriented agriculture has also pushed thousands of farmers out of their land. Rising costs for external inputs, such as pesticides and fertilisers, and depressed prices have contributed to driving farmers into long-term indebtedness. Many used their land as collateral for borrowing and have subsequently lost it because they were unable to repay the loans. A study by the Land Development Department disclosed that market mechanisms played a vital role in the landlessness of farmers. (11) Today, well over a million rural households are landless. (12)


Large extensions have been bought by rich landlords and speculators who left most of it idle or underused. The Land Institute Foundation estimated that about 70 % of Thailand’s total area is underused, accounting for an annual economic loss of 127,384 millions baht (or around US$ 3 millions). (13)


Somsak Yoinchai, a Chiang Mai farmer producing longan (a sweet cousin of the lychee), mainly for export, explains that landlessness impedes the realisation of a subsistence economy in Thailand. “I agree with the “sufficiency economy” concept. It would be possible to base our agriculture o­n self-reliance. But in order to do that, we need land. If the government is serious about “sufficiency economy”, it should redistribute land to every farmer in this country.”(14)


ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER

In Thailand, the development model promoted since the first National Economic Development Plan in 1961 led to large-scale changes in the agricultural sector. “The traditional farming systems based o­n diversified production responding primarily to domestic and community needs and dependent o­nly to a very limited extent o­n external inputs was replaced by a monoculture cropping system promoted and extended by the government in response to external market forces.” (15) The promotion of expensive modern varieties requiring increasing levels of chemical inputs has led to widespread soil and water contamination and to the extinction of many traditional varieties.


According to an Asia Development Bank (ADB) report, “the obvious impacts of extensification of Thai agriculture have been deforestation, unsustainable cultivation of hillsides, and vast over-exploitation of dry land areas, not to mention irreversible conversions of fragile and productive coastlands into poorly managed shrimp ponds. Deforestation has contributed to irregularities in rainfall patterns, exacerbating natural flood and drought cycles. From intensification have come the overuse and misapplication of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which then affect water supplies and food safety, as well as threaten the farm workers who use them. Intensification has also led to a number of social problems, contributing to the skewed consolidation of wealth while increasing landlessness, joblessness, and urban migration of the unskilled and unsuccessful.” (16)


Even though the ADB is advocating an increase in agricultural production for the world market, this report recognises that “Thailand’s past growth has been based upon destructive patterns of exploitation of natural resources and environmental systems.” “The environment has been significantly degraded to the point where it may impede further economic development”. (17)


Cash crops monocultures have been extremely destructive for the environment. Monocropping depletes soil fertility because of the constant use of the same nutrients. Moreover, cash crops also induce an increase of pesticides use. A report reveals that villagers in northern Chiang Mai are suffering from severe chemical pollution due to tangerine plantations. (18) This area is o­ne of the largest tangerine growing area in the country, a crop that brought in four billion baht in sales last year (US$ 98 million). Some estimates expect this figure to reach 10 billion in five years (US$ 245 million). Heavy use of pesticides has polluted the land, the air, but also water wells and ponds. Fishing and collecting greens from ponds is no longer safe. People complain about dizziness, breathing difficulty, chest congestion and allergy in the form of skin rashes and itchiness, but plantation areas keep increasing due to the good economic returns.


The contract farming system makes things worse. The contracting company imposes the amount of chemical inputs to be used to maximise production, regardless of long-term soil conservation. When the land has been too damaged, the company can turn to other producers in Thailand or to any more competitive country, leaving farmers with unproductive resources. Yet, this is the kind of policy that the government is encouraging. For example, in order to boost Thai fruit exports to China within the new bilateral free trade agreement taking effect in October 2003, the ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives announced that farmers will be given 1,500 baht per rai (US$ 231 per hectare) (19) to start fruit orchards, providing that they have price guarantees under farming contracts. (20) If they are not bound with any contract with an agribusiness company, individual farmers cannot benefit from this scheme. The same month, CP Group was announcing that the company would double its contract farming area to 20,000 rai (3,200 hectares) in anticipation of increased fruit exports to China. (21)


In short, over-exploitation of natural resources to increase market shares is destroying the very basis of a sufficient economy: a healthy and diverse environment. Supporting some self-sufficiency while planning to be the “kitchen of the world” is simply leading the “sufficiency economy” o­n a dead end road.


2. ORGANIC AGRICULTURE: A WAY OF LIFE OR A NICHE MARKET?

A second contradiction emerging from Charoen Pokphand’s business practice is its professed interest in chemical free agriculture and health food while it is a major retailer of chemical inputs and hybrid seeds requiring large quantities of pesticides and fertilisers. Chia Tai Group, the pesticides and seeds business of CP Group, has been mixing a wide range of imported agro-chemicals and selling them under its own brand in Asia for years. (21) In 1979, CP also entered into a partnership with US-based DeKalb Genetics Corporation, bought by Monsanto in 1998, to conduct research o­n hybrid corn and seeds. CP then acquired a quasi monopoly o­n maize seeds in Thailand. Monsanto’s environmental records are extremely poor, ranging from the production of agent orange, a defoliant used by the US army during the Vietnam war to dioxin contamination due to the production of chemical agricultural products and to the domination of the highly controversial genetically modified seeds o­n the world market.


At the same time, CP Food is advertising its new policy of “environmental friendliness” (22) and launching its own health food practices, such as cultivation under a net to avoid pest infections. It has recently entered the organic market, producing rice under contract farming for export. According to Mr Anek Silapapun “Organic rice is a new market for us. We produce less than 100 tons a year. But we believe that this is the future. The domestic market is too small: we target the European market. We hope to produce organic mango soon and to develop other organic products in the future.”


In the aftermath of the bird flu outbreak early 2004, CP and the leaders of the poultry industry also convinced the Thai authorities that industrial farming in closed farms was the best way to guarantee food safety. The government launched a plan to modernise poultry farming, providing loans to small farmers to replace open farms with industrial poultry houses. The cost of such an investment has driven thousands of small chicken raisers out of business, consolidating the market position of CP and other major exporters. However, around the world, closed farms have also suffered from avian flu outbreaks. More over, far from being the safest way to go, industrial farming has also created a wide range of safety problems like the development of salmonella bacteria, campy bacteria or antibiotics resistance.


CHEMICAL-FREE THAILAND

Like Charoen Pokphand, the Thai government is now showing a growing interest in organic and health food, after decades of promoting the green revolution package. For the first time, the 8th National Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001) recognised sustainable agriculture, including organic farming. This was the result of years of campaigning and mobilising by farmers’ movements and NGOs. The plan sets an ambitious target of converting 20% of arable land to sustainable agriculture, but no concrete actions were taken to meet this goal. Dr Sangsit Piriyarangsan, a high profile advisor of the former minister of interior and a respected academic even proposed a plan to declare “chemical free Thailand”. But this project was dropped when the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra came to power in 2001. As a whole, the use of pesticides in Thailand keeps increasing. Amphon Kittiampon, director of the National Agricultural Commodity and Food Standard Office, said imports of toxic chemicals had increased by 119% in the past 10 years and the number of people falling ill as a result of chemical-contaminated food and agricultural products increased by 148% within six years. (23)


As for transnational companies, the Thai authorities’ interest in safe food and organic agriculture is largely driven by the attraction of foreign markets. o­ne of Thailand’s main strategies to remain competitive despite the opening of its agricultural markets to giant producers like China is to increase food safety standards – notably under the “Good Agricultural Practice” and “Good Manufacture Practice” concepts. It is also revealing that o­ne of the few strictly organic projects currently implemented by the authorities is the Department of Export Promotion’s “Pilot Project o­n the Export of Organic Farm Products” initiated in 1999. (24) Besides this project, the Department of Agriculture set up organic standards guidelines and a certification body. To date, most of the producers certified are large exporters.


This move towards sustainable agriculture for export is received with mixed feelings by various social movements in Thailand.


Vitoon Ruenglertpanyakul, director of Greennet, a long time organic rice exporter for the fair trade network, believes that it is clearly good news if more companies are getting involved in organic agriculture and if the government is encouraging them “It means that there will be less chemicals around. Farmers, consumers and the environment will be less exposed to toxic residues.” Meanwhile, Greennet is working o­n a better integration between organic standards and social criteria’s.


But the Alternative Agriculture Network (AAN) is more critical. According to Pongtip Samranjit of the Rural Reconstruction Alumni and Friends Association (RRAFA), an active member of the AAN “We are trying to convince the government that alternative agriculture is not synonymous with export oriented organic agriculture. Producing for export has led farmers to poverty, dependency and over exploitation of the land.” The leaders of the AAN argue that contract farming, even for organic products, allows large companies to take over the control of the whole production process: they lend money to the farmers, they sell them seeds, pesticides and fertilizers and they buy the harvests. “Sometimes, farmers cannot even eat the healthy rice they are producing, because it already belongs to the company,” said Samranjit. “They have to buy cheap conventional rice o­n the market. Monocropping, even for organic products, creates dependency. If the prices drop, farmers do not earn enough to meet ends.” The Alternative Agriculture Network first promotes self-sufficiency and production for local markets. Farmers grow a wide range of crops and not o­nly a single cash crop and o­nly if they still have surpluses, they sell them to the global market.


According to Witoon Lianchamroon from Biothai, another organisation involved in the AAN, “The biggest rice exporters, like Capital Rice, are currently producing organic rice under contract farming agreements. Organic farmers involved with NGOs in the North-East are more and more often approached by private companies interested in buying their whole harvest. It looks like an interesting evolution, but I see it as a serious threat for the movement. Those companies see organic agriculture in terms of market, while it is a way of life. They might not use pesticides, but they keep exploiting farmers by giving them a low price and by controlling the production and market chain. This evolution shows us that alternative farming is not o­nly about changing agricultural practices. It is a different way of seeing social relationships. We have to put human beings back into the market. It is like in our traditional local markets: farmers and traders have a sense of responsibility there, they know people’s name. Consumers don’t need certification at this level. The exchange is based o­n trust and respect.”

Today in Thailand, an estimate of 16, 761.375 rai of farmlands are under organic management (2,682 hectares). (25) This represents o­nly 0.013 % of the total farmlands and involves about 750 families. In 1995, an independent certification body (Organic Agriculture Certification Thailand) was recognised by international institutions such as the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and International Organic Accreditation Services. But a much larger part of the agricultural area in the country is managed under alternative agriculture practices, without any certification. The AAN alone works with up to 3470 farming families, at different stages of conversion towards sustainable farming practices. There is a growing domestic market for healthy food and a rapid development of new outlets and companies offering chemical free products to Thai consumers.


For Witoon Lianchamroon, there is a great potential in Thailand for the development of alternative agriculture. “The Thai public is supporting a shift away from chemical agriculture and many farmers are ready to change their practices. But in order to manage this transition, we need to move away from industrialised and export-oriented agriculture and to develop a radically different model,” he says. This vision remains miles away from the government’s policy to promote safe food for a niche market, mainly abroad, while encouraging further industrialisation of agriculture which implies further over-exploitation of land and water resources, intensive use of hybrid seeds and agro-chemical inputs and further impoverishment of farmers.


3. THE KITCHEN OF THE WORLD WHERE FARMERS GO BANKRUPT

The third contradiction in Thai policies and practices regarding food, trade and agriculture is less visible in the Charoen Pokphand’s office. But it is striking everywhere in rural Thailand, where farmers are struggling to survive and to keep their land. CP and other major food groups in Thailand show the picture of a thriving agribusiness sector, based o­n farming communities going into bankruptcy.


Even if CP’s executives assure that “their” contract farmers are “very well off”, a Thai journalist who investigated the company practices in the countryside describes the situation as “slavery contract farming”. He found that farmers lost all decision power and were shouldering all the risks related to the production. According to his research, farmers were not getting richer, but more indebted in the process.


Veerapon Sopa, an organic farmer in Buri Ram, said many farmers were now dependent o­n CP. ''The company comes and makes wonderful promises to farmers,'' he said. ''In my village, it convinced many of us to start raising chickens for it. Then the exploitation comes. Farmers have to invest a lot of money in the beginning. There is a guaranteed price, but CP always finds a way to pay less, arguing that the farmers didn't respect the standards, that the quality is no good, that the production is late. Then contract farmers become very indebted.” (26)


Contract farmers become extremely dependent o­n the world market’s demand and they become factory workers in their own field: The o­nly difference is that they have no company to take the responsibility of securing their jobs, their social welfare, etc.


PRODUCING MORE FOR LESS

Since the financial crisis in 1997, even as food exports have been rising, farmers have become increasingly vulnerable. While food exports volumes increased by 49% between 1997 and 2002 (from 19,421 thousand tons in 97 to 28,926 in 2002), the total value has decreased slightly (from 10,552 to 9,997 millions dollars). Thailand is producing more for less. Under the current neoliberal system, because of the constant decline in commodity prices o­n the world market, the country needs to keep increasing its production o­nly to maintain the same revenue. This obviously puts a growing pressure o­n farmers’ income and o­n natural resources such as land and water.


Source: National Food Institute/Customs Department


Between 1997 and 2000, even if exports shot up, real farm incomes have not increased. o­n the other hand, farm spending has increased and some years, it even exceed income. It is therefore fair to say that farmers are generally worse off than before the export boom. (27) Farmers’ indebtedness gives another indication of producers’ hardship in a very successful food exporting country.


From 1988 to 1995, while food exports where shooting up in Thailand, the percentage of indebted agricultural households rose from 22.45% to 60% and the average debt by agricultural household increased more than 10 fold, from 3,777 baht to 37,231 baht (US$151 to US$1478). (28) A research report by the Thailand’s Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives in 2002 states that the total debt of the agricultural sector was about 411 billion baht (US$ 9 billion). (29) Because of indebtedness, many farmers have lost their lands and have to work as labourers. More than o­ne million farmers are landless, with an increase rate of 4.05% a year. (30)


According to the National Economic and Social Development Board Office, there were 9.9 million poor people in Thailand in 2001, out of a population of 62 million. Eighty per cent of the poor people lived in rural areas and most of them were farmers, with little land or no land at all.


Thailand is becoming the kitchen of the world, but alarming reports show that malnutrition remains rampant in the country, especially in the rural North-East. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that 19% of Thailand’s 62.8 millions people are chronically undernourished. (31) The Ministry of Education conducted a survey in primary and pre-primary schools to assess the number of children suffering from malnutrition. In 2003, out of 6,633,809 students surveyed, more than o­ne million suffered from malnutrition. This had a devastating impact o­n children’s development and learning capacity. (32)


TRADERS GET THE LION’S SHARE

This shows that the success story presented by Thailand all over the world is actually a disaster for the vast majority of the population involved in agriculture and food production. Trade liberalisation in the farming sector, instead of benefiting farmers and workers, has benefited traders, brokers and agribusiness companies.


An analysis of the rice market shows that even though Thailand has become o­ne of the largest rice exporters in the world, this wealth has not been distributed equally between farmers and traders. The producers, mainly small-scale farmers, acquire o­n average o­nly 24% of the export value, the remaining 76% going to exporters, traders and millers. (33)


AGRICULTURE SECTOR SQUEEZED

If Thailand is now giving a high national and international profile to its ambition of becoming the “Kitchen of the World”, boasting the qualities of its 20 million farmers and food workers, this orientation has not been reflected in policy priorities since the sixties. As Walden Bello wrote after the 1997 Asian financial crisis: “Government strategy has been consistently a lopsided, short-sighted o­ne of milking and permanently subordinating agriculture to urban commercial-industrial interests, with little concern for the future of agriculture, rather than a balanced o­ne aimed at gradually reducing the agricultural sector’s subsidization of industrialization and making agricultural prosperity instead o­ne of the engines of subsequent industrial growth.” (34)


This subordination of agriculture to the interests of the urban-industrial sector has not changed after the 1997 crisis, even though the rural communities and the agricultural sector cushioned the social impact of the economic crisis by providing the “social safety net” for an estimated 1.2 million urban workers to go back to their rural area, and even though this sector still employs more than half of the total workforce.


Agriculture’s share of the GDP of Thailand has declined from more than 30 % in the 1970s to about 9% today. According to an ADB report “Thai economic policy has contributed to the long-term decline in agriculture. Although expenditures by the government are high by regional standards, public investment in agricultural research and investment has been modest … In addition, trade policies have encouraged the development of capital intensive manufacturing, giving that sector an edge when competing for domestic resources.” (35)


Wages in the agricultural sector have also been much lower than in the other sectors. In 2000, the average monthly wage in the farming sector was 3000 baht (US$ 73.7), while it was 5800 baht (US$ 142) for the manufacturing sector and 6700 baht (US$ 164), more than the double, for the average wage in all sectors together. (36)


Behind the glitter of a successful food producer and exporter, the reality reveals a deep crisis in the agriculture and food sector. This picture also shows that the neo-liberal model imposed by financial institutions all over the world does not benefit society as a whole and cannot be trusted as a base for a healthy national economic development. Even in a country like Thailand, where food exports are shooting up, people remain hungry, farmers get poorer, workers are exploited, the environment is exhausted and consumers get contaminated food.

4. TOWARDS A NATIONAL STRATEGY o­n FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

Facing greater inequities, marginalisation and vulnerability, farmers, fisher folks, ethnic minority groups and the workers, rural and urban poor in Thailand have been organising to reclaim a society where social justice prevails.


The number of protests and demonstrations organised every day all over the country gives an indication of the variety and the dynamism of the opposition movements. According to o­ne study, in 1988 there was an average of o­ne demonstration every two days by local communities. This figure increased fourfold in 1994. In 1994, there were 739 demonstrations during the year, and in 1995 there were 754 demonstrations in total. (37)


Behind those protests, long lasting grassroots movements are proposing and implementing strategies to survive and live a decent life. The way food is produced and distributed among the population is at the heart of this alternative model. In the wide diversity of peoples’ struggles, main lines are emerging: communities reclaim the right to control natural resources, they promote sustainable agriculture instead of chemical-dependent production systems, they give priority to self-sufficiency and domestic markets over export-oriented and industrial agriculture. Large movements such as Assembly of the Poor, the Northern Peasant Federation, the Alternative Agriculture Network and many others are also pressuring the government for the right to participate in the policy decision making processes that directly impact them. They assert that food should not be treated as a commodity like any other, because it is a cornerstone of public health, cultural life and livelihood. They are now heading towards a strategy of food sovereignty that reaffirms the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture policies and practices that serve the rights of peoples to safe, healthy and ecologically sustainable production. (38)


* Isabelle Delforge is a research associate with Focus o­n the Global South based in Bangkok, Thailand


Notes

1. www.cpthailand.com

2. www.cpfoods.net

3. “CP Group : From Seeds to “Kitchen of the World”, Insead-Euro-Asia Centre, 2002, Singapore.

4. “CP Group : From Seeds to “Kitchen of the World”, idem

5. Thailand Human Development Report 2003, United Nations Development Programme - Royal Speech given o­n December 4, 1997.

6. The Nation, 2 June 2001

7. Interview in Bangkok, 19 June 2003.

8. “Rice Production and Trading”, Bank of Thailand, 2000 ( http://www.bot.or.th/BOThomepage/DataBank/Real_Sector/agriculture/Rice/10-19-2001-Eng-i-1/Rice2000_eng.htm)

9. National Food Institute and Customs Department

10. “Managing the invisible hand. Markets, farmers and international trade”, Sofia Murphy, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, April 2002.

11. Quoted in “Alternative Country Report. Thailand Progress o­n Agenda 21 Proposals for Sustainable Delvelopment”, The Thai Working Group o­n the People’s Agenda for Sustainable Development? NGO Coordinating Committee o­n Development, Bangkok, 2002.

12. “Thailand: Country environmental policy integration analysis report”, ADB, no date (2000 ?), www.adb.org/Environment/AEO/PUB/documents/thailand.pdf

13. The Land Institute Foundation : “Project for the study of land holdings and utilization and economic and legal mesures for maximum land Utilization”, Thailand Research Fund, December 2000.

14. Interview in Chiang Mai, 14 July 2003.

15. “Alternative Country Report. Thailand Progress o­n Agenda 21 Proposals for Sustainable Delvelopment”, idem.

16. “Thailand: Country environmental policy integration analysis report”, idem

17. “Thailand: Country environmental policy integration analysis report”, idem

18. Bangkok Post, 7 September 2003.

19. 1 rai = 0.16 hectare/0.3954 acre.

20. Bangkok Post, 20 August 2003.

21. Bangkok Post, 21 October 2003

22. www.chiataigroup.com

23. Annual Report 2002 Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited.

24. Bangkok Post, 8 June 2003

25. V. Ruenglertpanyakul : “Organic Agriculture in Thailand”, Earth Net Foundation, Bangkok, October 2001.

26. Vitoon Ruenglertpanyakul : “Organic Agriculture for Rural Poverty Alleviation – Thailand”, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, November 2001.

27. Interview in Bangkok, April 2004.

28. “Challenging the Market Access Agenda – Case study o­n rice from Thailand”, Jacques-Chai Chomthongdi, Focus o­n the Global South, May 2004.

29. idem

30. Quoted in : R.Leonard, K.Narintarakul Na Ayutthaya : “Thailand’s Land Titling Programme : securing land for the poor?”, Northern Development Foundation, Chiang Mai, February 2003..

31. “Thai Food Systems Policies: It is time to help the government to build a national strategy”, Ministry of Public Health, Bangkok, March 2003

32. State of Food Insecurity in the World 2003, FAO

33. Matichon,19 June 2003.

34. “Challenging the Market Access Agenda – Case study o­n rice from Thailand”, Jacques-Chai Chomthongdi, Focus o­n the Global South, May 2004.

35. W.Bello, S.Cunnigham, L.K Poh : “A Siamese Tragedy. Development and disintegration in modern Thailand”, Focus o­n the Global South, Food First-White Lotus-Zed Books, 1998

36. “Thailand Country Assistance Plan 2000-2002”, ADB, (www.adb.org/Documents/CAPs/THA/default.asp)

37. Report of the Labor Force Survey 1999-2000, National Satistical Office.

38. “Alternative Country Report. Thailand Progress o­n Agenda 21 Proposals fro Sustainable Delvelopment”, The Thai Working Group o­n the People’s Agenda for Sustainable Development? NGO Coordinating Committee o­n Development, Bangkok, 2002.