Bondens val: System, samspel och stödjande strukturer under moderniseringsprocessen i norra Thailand

Sammanfattning: There is a variety of options in the Thai countryside today, especially in an area like San Sai in Northern Thailand, situated in the vicinity of a city. What are the arguments for staying within the agricultural sector? As the economy grows, the demand for new products is increasing, creating opportunities for those who want to invest in agriculture. But it has also become more difficult to be a farmer, since modern agriculture requires expensive input, living expenses are increasing, and labour has become scarce. The thesis is based on a study of contract farming in Northern Thailand, conducted during the years 1994-1997. In the area where the study is made many farmers have managed to make profitable choices. The aim is to construct a system, where the outer framework is defined by the potato industry. Within this framework the farmer and the other actors – the companies and the state – interact during the influence of resource endowments, and formal and informal institutions. A general argument is that a relatively high degree of equity and flexibility creates a breeding ground for cooperation and new forms of organisation, which in turn qualifies for development rather than impoverishment. There are no sharp boundaries between people’s different roles in San Sai, indicating that the traditional hierarchies have been broken down. Relatively equal and businesslike relations to the companies, to other farmers, and to the state’s representatives have a bearing on the farmers' economic decisions.