Monday, February 18, 2008
The agriculture of Thailand, may be traced through historical, scientific, and social aspects which produced modern Thailand's unique approach to agriculture. Following the Neolithic Revolution after society in the area evolved from hunting and gathering, it developed through phases of agro-cities, into state-religious empires, and with the immigration of the Tai produced a distinct approach to sustainable agriculture compared with most other agricultural practices in the world.
Rice is the country's most important crop; Thailand is a major exporter in the world rice market. Other agricultural commodities produced in significant amounts include fish and fishery products, tapioca, rubber, grain, and sugar. Exports of industrially processed foods such as canned tuna, pineapples, and frozen shrimp are on the rise.
From about 1000, the Tai wet glutinous rice culture determined administrative structures in a pragmatic society that regularly produced a salable surplus. Continuing today, these systems consolidate the importance of rice agriculture to national security and economic well being. Chinese and European influence later benefited agribusiness and initiated the demand that would expand agriculture through population increase until accessible land was expended.
Agriculture in transition
As agriculture declined in relative financial importance in terms of income with rising industrialization and Americanization of Thailand from the 1960s, but it continued to provide the benefits of employment and self-sufficiency, rural social support, and cultural custody. Technical and economic globalisation forces have continued to change agriculture to a food industry and thereby exposed smallholder farmers to such an extent the traditional environmental and human values have declined markedly in all but the poorer areas. Unregulated exploitation of natural resources is but one problem as values of sharing, producing just enough rather than for wealth creation, and integrity of purpose across wide income disparities have now disappeared in the face of unregulated profit making by urban-based investors.
Agribusiness, both privately and government-owned, expanded from the 1960s and subsistence farmers were partly viewed as a past relic from which agribusiness could modernise. However intensive integrated production systems of subsistence farming continued to offer efficiencies that were not financial, including social benefits which have now caused agriculture to be treated as both a social and financial sector in planning, with increased recognition of environmental and cultural values.
Posted by qwertyuio at 11:28 AM