Monday, 12 May 2008

Agriculture In Thailand

Agriculture is considered as the backbone of a country. It plays an important role in generating national income, in solving unemployment problem in rural areas, and in maintaining equilibrium in domestic food supply. Rice is the main staple in Thailand. Thai farmers concentrate more on paddy fields and it was one of their main export products.

Rice is mostly grown in central regions of Thailand. Thai farmers work throughout the year, and after the annual harvest season, they plan for the second cultivation or sometimes they concentrate on raising animals or fish. Thailand is popular for its vast fertile land and ample supply of water. It is said to have the most fertile lands in Asia. Thailand is also referred to as the “Rice Bowl”. Farmers used to rear fish and grow paddy simultaneously; as a result they used to have a continuous supply of fresh fish and rice to live on.

Today the farmers in Thailand face a number of problems as the Thai government promoted high input, export orientated agricultural systems to increase the country’s growth rate. This growth policy has resulted in retardation of the country’s agricultural sector. Poor farm management techniques and inappropriate use of agrochemicals has resulted in soil erosion and soil exhaustion, further damaging the agriculture sector.

Another serious problem in Thailand is the increase in death and illness among farmers due to pesticides. This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge with regards to agrochemical application and safety procedures. In 1988 the number of people reported to be suffering from pesticide poisoning was 4,234, while the number of deaths from pesticide poisoning was 34.

The Thai government is finally awakening to reality and it is about time that the government took an initiative to help the ailing agriculture sector otherwise Thailand may lose the title of “Rice bowl”.