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Food Security in Thailand: Status, Rural Poor Vulnerability, and Some Policy Options


  • Somporn Isvilanonda


  • Isriya Bunyasiri

    () (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics,Faculty of Economics,Kasetsart University,Thailand)


Agricultural development policy in Thailand over the past few decades has been geared not only to the nation’s food security, but also to export earnings. Thailand is a food surplus country at the macro level but food accessibility at the household level remains a problem, particularly in remote rural areas. The recent increase in food price and production cost has impacted on the rural poor. With a declining purchasing power, the poor households face the risk of food insecurity as they may reduce their intake of more nutritious food. The impact of rising food prices on agricultural households depends on whether they are net buyers of food commodities whose prices have increased. In rice farming households, the share of net buyer households was higher among households with smaller land holding. Also, the poor rice farmers in Thailand were severely affected by the higher production cost and input prices since the reduction in their net profits was larger. While nearly two-thirds of their operating cost was cash expense, they received only one-tenth from the rice sold. In order for the rural poor to cope with future impacts of high food price and rising production cost, a provision of off-farm employment and micro-credit with technical assistance and proper farm management plans should be targeted to small farmers and rural poor. In the longer-run, it is suggested that small-scale farmer capacity building and empowerment based on the sufficiency economy concept is necessary. This should be complemented by enhancing farm productivity through agricultural research and improvement in village-pool water resources including on-farm water resource management and investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Somporn Isvilanonda & Isriya Bunyasiri, 2009. "Food Security in Thailand: Status, Rural Poor Vulnerability, and Some Policy Options," Working Papers 200901, Kasetsart University, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kau:wpaper:200901

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    Thailand; food security; agricultural policy; rural poor vulnerability; policy options;

    JEL classification:

    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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