In the Era of Climate Change: Moving Beyond Conventional Agriculture in Thailand

Lee, Suyeon. 2021. "In the Era of Climate Change: Moving Beyond Conventional Agriculture in Thailand." Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development 18(1): 1-14. https://doi.org/10.37801/ajad2021.18.1.1

Thailand is ranked among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, and its farmers have faced the risk of natural disasters almost every year for nearly 30 years. However, those affected by climate change have also been the largest contributors to climate change, increasing the risks they will face in the near future. The intensive use of chemical pesticides in conventional agriculture has harmed not only the environment and biodiversity but the health of both users and consumers. Responding to these problems, several policies have been put in place over the past decades to reduce pesticide usage as well as to encourage farmers to switch to low-carbon and low-pesticide agriculture, namely, organic agriculture.

This study reviews policies related to the development of organic agriculture in Thailand and examines whether organic agriculture is an effective adaptation and mitigation strategy to climate change that can also generate enough food. This study finds that the organic sector has been largely driven by the private sector, particularly the agricultural cooperatives and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which have provided various support ranging from technology transfer, production, financing, distribution, to marketing of organic products. Their role is vital in encouraging farmers to switch to organic farming and growing market opportunities for organic goods. Nevertheless, constraints including inconsistent policies and limited support from the government remain, which, to some extent, weakens the efforts to build sustainable agriculture and climate resilience. To improve organic farming, there is a need for the government agencies to work together with all relevant stakeholders in the organic sector, namely agricultural cooperatives, NGOs, and consumers.

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