Unfair contract farming prompts farmers to seek government help

Unfair contract farming in Thailand is exploiting farmers and putting them in financial loss, according to a consensus reached at an academic seminar participated by academics, government agencies, and farmer representatives committed to the contract farming.

Conclusion of the exploitative contract farming was reached when the network of contract farmers, academics and government agencies sat down to debate contract farming and to find how to resolve problems of contract farmers affected by the contract commitment.

The meeting agreed that poor education and lack of understanding of contract farming, and no bargaining power of contract farmers had forced them into huge financial burden. They agreed that contract farming companies monopolized marketing mechanism, production factors and prohibiting farmers to find their own production factors  and sell products to other people or firms.

At the same time contract companies also require products that meet their standards, both in term of quantity and quality, and prices, thus prompting contract farmers to shoulder extra cost on production factors to meet their demands.

The seminar agreed to advise farmers who are going to enter the contract farming to read the contract carefully before signing the agreement as it will bind them to comply with all conditions stated in the contract.

For those who have entered the contract farming, they were advised to lower risk by turning to integrated farming under the Self-Sufficiency  economy concept for own consumption or for sale, or might group into a network or a cooperative to find new sources of production factors, or other substitute market in case they could not meet the commitment.

On the urgency basis, the seminar agreed to send a letter asking the prime minister to issue a regulation that will create more justices for farmers committed to the unfair contract farming as they had earlier proposed to the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Justice Ministry.