“From the Farm to the Marketplace: Rice-Farming and Livestock Management in Thailand and Cambodia” by John Walsh and Petcharat Lovichakorntikul has been accepted for presentation at the conference on Asian Food Culture in Zhejiang, China in October, 2013. Ms Petcharat (soon to be Dr. Petcharat, we trust) will go to present the paper, as I am going to be in Tokyo on a family holiday.
Beyond subsistence farming, Thai and Cambodian farmers sell their surplus products in marketplaces from where they are distributed to the final consumers. Owing to relatively low levels of irrigation in both countries, the benefits of the Green Revolution have not been fully experience and there remain variations in the use of different rice varieties, fertilizers, insecticides and other inputs and in the management of livestock. The ability of households to generate revenue from their products varies not just in terms of the level of income but also to the ability to be part of important networks and in the ways that decisions are made in the household. Three separate questionnaire surveys of 200 women in rural households in Thailand and Cambodia, with a total sample size of 600, have been used to examine the interaction between gender and decision-making within rural households and its impact on production of items for sale as food. Decision-making depends to some extent on the type of agricultural activity selected and the desire to change to new approached. This should be understood in context of asymmetric levels of information being received from the marketplace as to levels of demand for different products. The results obtained enable the formulation of recommendations that should help promote greater productivity in both countries and to enable more of the benefits of trade in the marketplace to be retained by the farming households. These recommendations will, in turn, improve the long-term social and economic prospects for the households concerned.