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Rigg, Jonathan (1985) The problems of agricultural intensification in a marginal rainfed environment : A study of farmers' practices and government policies in two villages in northeastern Thailand. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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In short, the study proposes that farming in a marginal rain-fed environment such as that of the Northeast Region of Thailand presents special problems for the intensification of production, and that government policies should take account of these problems. The thesis is based on fieldwork conducted in two villages in the province of Mahasarakham, Northeastern Thailand, during the period September 1982 to June 1983. The villages were both farming communities in which households grew rain-fed wet-rice to meet their subsistence requirements/ and upland cash crops (principally cassava) to supplement their income. A detailed questionnaire was conducted among approximately a fifth of the population. The work involves an analysis of farmers' practices vis a vis rice and upland cropping and contrasts them with the government recommendations. There were significant disparities between the two and these have been explained from the perspective of the farmer, rather than that of the extension office. The outcome is that many government initiatives are shown to be less than relevant to the position in which the farmer finds himself. This fact - that the government recommendations are often irrelevant to the inhabitants - is then expanded upon to reveal some of the problems of intensifying agricultural production in a marginal environment where the risks are great. The strategy that the farmers adopted appeared to consist of two contrasting, although not contradictory, elements: firstly, a great specificity of response to varying edaphic and topographic conditions; and secondly, an emphasis on flexibility of response to the variable climate. Both elements combine to stabilise production or minimise risk. The resulting limited opportunities for investment in agriculture forced farmers to look for a large proportion of their cash income outside rice and upland crop cultivation. This was accentuated by the ever-increasing pressure on farmers to have a greater disposable income, and emphasises the importance of diversifying the farm economy and presenting farmers with opportunities outside agriculture.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:08

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