IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Rural Poverty and Agricultural Diversification in Thailand

Listed author(s):
  • Ahmad, Alia

    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Isvilanonda, Somporn


    (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Kasetsart University)

Registered author(s):

    Thailand has experienced steady economic growth and structural changes in the economy in the last four decades that enabled her to gain a position among the newly industrialized nations. The structural changes associated with economic growth reflect the changing role of agriculture in the economy. The share of agriculture in GDP declined from 44% in early 1960s to 10% in recent years (Isvilanonda 1998). Its share in employment has shown similar trend albeit at a slower pace. The share of agriculture in employment has fallen from 83% in 1957 to 57% in 1999. The difference between the shares of agriculture in GDP and employment suggests a huge labour productivity gap between agriculture and manufacturing, and it has serious implications for rural poverty and rural/urban inequality. Although Thailand has been very successful in reducing poverty because of rapid and steady economic growth, rural poverty especially in certain regions is a serious problem. 90% of the poor live in rural areas and 2/3 of the poor live in northeastern provinces indicating high regional inequality. The productivity gap is mainly due to the inability of the manufacturing sector to absorb rural labour at a rapid rate. One of the ways of dealing with this problem is to diversify agriculture and the rural economy both at sectoral and farm-level. Thailand has been successful in sector-level diversification with regional specialization. However, this has resulted in regional disparity in agricultural development because of the inability of farmers in certain regions to diversify towards more profitable crops. This paper analyses the pattern of diversification at farm level, its effects on farm income and the constraints faced by farmers in different regions and production environments. The study is based on longitudinal household level data from two regions in Thailand - the Central Plains near Bangkok and Khon Kaen in the northeast of the country.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Tables
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2003:19.

    in new window

    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: 31 Oct 2003
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2003_019
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden

    Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
    Fax: +46 +46 2224613
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Siamwalla, Ammar, 1975. "A History of Rice Policies in Thailand," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 03.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2003_019. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Edgerton)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.