FAO (2013) Organic supply chains for small farmer income generation in developing countries Case studies in India, Thailand, Brazil, Hungary and Africa
In 2005, organic farming in Thailand covered about 21 701 ha (up from 2 000 ha in 2000), representing 0.1 percent of the total agricultural land area, with 7 186 farmers, representing 0.14 percent of the total number (IFOAM, 2010). Thai organic agriculture is dominated by rice and field crops, with organic rice produced on 18 000 ha or 85 percent of organic farmland (Willer and Yuseffi, 2007). Organic sector growth in the last few years has been quite impressive, thanks to a combination of factors, including the rapid growth of international organic trade, the emergence of domestic markets for organic produce, favourable government policies and the establishment of organic conversion systems.
The major export markets of Thai organic farm produce are the European countries, particularly Germany, the United Kingdom and France. Export markets in the United States of America, Japan and high-income countries in Asia such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are also expanding significantly. There are no official statistical data on Thailand’s organic exports. Besides rice, the second most important export to the European Union (EU) is fresh vegetables. Other exports are sugar, palm oil and vegetable seed. The domestic market is much smaller, estimated at around US$20 million.
This study focuses on two organic jasmine rice producers – Top Organic Products and Supplies Company Limited (TOPS) and the Bak Ruea Farmer Organization (BRFO) (Panyakul, 2006). TOPS’ supply chain begins with 133 individual contract farmers, who cultivate 240 rai (38 ha). These farmers are organized in three local groups, according to location. The supply chain of BRFO organic rice comprises 218 individual organic farmers, and the area covered is 961 ha.