The Differing Strategies of Agricultural Cooperatives in Thailand: from Managing Market Links to Self-Reliance


Nicolas Faysse Wattanai Onsamrarn


     Because of their dual nature as business enterprises and social groups, agricultural cooperatives have to adapt to socio-economic changes taking place in members’ farms and in their environment. The present study analyses the activities of 23 Thai agricultural cooperatives and examines how these activities delineate strategies to adapt to the socio-economic transformations in rural areas of Thailand. All cooperatives organized the supply of agricultural inputs and almost all of them were engaged in loans and savings. The choice of implementing other activities was related to two main strategies. One was to manage market links, thanks for instance to joint marketing of members’ products, in order in particular to deal with decreasing market prices. The other one was to promote members’ self-reliance, i.e., their capacity to obtain a living without fully depending on the marketing of their agricultural products. This strategy aimed in particular to adapt to farmers’ ageing and was achieved for instance thanks to diversification of agricultural products so as to increase home consumption of these products, or through bartering between cooperatives. Some cooperatives actively implemented one or two of these strategies (as they are not antagonistic) while others did not engage in any of them. Overall, cooperatives managed to adapt to the decreasing role of agriculture in rural areas. However, many of studied cooperative have to develop new ways of supporting their members if they want to remain key players when it comes to the successful integration of farmers in the agricultural economy.

Keywords: Agricultural Cooperatives, Self-Reliance, Socio-Economic Changes, Thailand



Bernard, T., Collion, M. H., De Janvry, A., Rondot, P., & Sadoulet, E. (2008). Do Village Organizations Make a Difference in African Rural Development? A study for Senegal and Burkina Faso. World Development, 36(11), 2188-2204.

Chaddad, F. R. (2014). Responding to the External Environment: the Evolution of Brazilian Dairy Co-operatives. In T. Mazzarol, S. Reboud, E. Limnios, & D. Clark (Eds.), Research Handbook on Sustainable Co-operative Enterprise: Case Studies of Organizational Resilience in the Co-operative Business Model (pp. 100-112). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Chareonwongsak, K. (2017). Enhancing Board Motivation for Competitive Performance of Thailand’s
Co-operatives. Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 5(1), 1-13.

Coleman, W. D., & Chiasson, C. (2002). State Power, Transformative Capacity and Resisting Globalization: An Analysis of French Agricultural Policy, 1960-2000. Journal of European Public Policy, 9(2), 168-185.

Cooperative Auditing Department (CAD). (2016). Financial Information of Cooperatives in Thailand 2015. Bangkok: Cooperative Auditing Department.

Egery, J. (2014). Economic Risks in the Agricultural Sectors of Emerging Economies: Smallholder Perspectives of Projects Based on Thailand’s Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy. (Master’s thesis). University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

Esham, M., Kobayashi, H., Matsumura, I., & Alam, A. (2012). Japanese Agricultural Cooperatives at Crossroads: a Review. American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, 12(7), 943-953.

Faysse, N. (2017) Dwindling or Thriving? Making Sense of the Diversity of Agricultural and Rural Dynamics in Thailand. NIDA Development Journal, 57(4), 1-14.

Formoso, B. (2016). Are Thai Peasants Still Farmers? The Socioeconomic Transformation of Two Villages of Northeastern Thailand. Moussons, Recherche en Sciences Humaines Sur l’Asie du Sud-Est, 28, 39-60.

Francesconi, G. N., & Heerink, N. (2011). Ethiopian Agricultural Cooperatives in an Era of Global Commodity Exchange: Does Organisational form Matter? Journal of African Economies, 20(1), 153-177.

Hirokawa, S. (2014). Integrated Agriculture from the Perspective of the Creation of Employment in the Aging Society of Rural Northeast Thailand. Journal of Human Security Studies, 3(1), 78-96.

Hughes, R. P., Robinson, R. W., Larsen, A. L., & Whitney, H. S. (1968). Thailand Agricultural Cooperatives: an Evaluation with Recommendations for Improvement. Madison, US: University of Wisconsin.

Kaojrun, P. (2015). Lifestyle and its Relation to Sufficient Economy Philosophy: Case Study of Nongyasai Agricultural Cooperative. (Master’s thesis). Kasetsart University, Bangkok.

Kasem, S., & Thapa, G. B. (2012). Sustainable Development Policies and Achievements in the Context of the Agriculture Sector in Thailand. Sustainable Development, 20(2), 98-114.

Kersting, S., & Wollni, M. (2012). New Institutional Arrangements and Standard Adoption: Evidence from Small-Scale Fruit and Vegetable Farmers in Thailand. Food Policy, 37(4), 452-462.

Maclachlan, P., & Shimizu, K. (2016). Japanese Farmers in Flux. The Domestic Sources of Agricultural Reform. Asian Survey, 56(3), 442-465.

National Statistical Office of Thailand. (2013). Advanced Report 2013 Agricultural Census. Bangkok: Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.

Nilsen, J. (2014). Remittances and Development: the Impact of Remittances on Livelihood Security. Evidence from Ko Kaeo Sub-District, Thailand. (Master’s thesis). University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway.

Ozturk, I. (2009). A Case Study on Changing Livelihood Strategies of the Community of Ban Non Sao-e Village, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand. The European Journal of Development Research, 21(2), 250-263.

Patrawart, J., & Sriurai, S. (2016). The New Challenges in the 2nd Century of Agricultural Cooperatives Development in Thailand. In 11th ICA Asia Pacific Regional Research Conference on Cooperatives and Sustainable Development, Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi, India, 15 November 2016 (pp. 1-18). Bangkok: Cooperative Academic Institute (CAI), Faculty of Economics, Kasetsart University.

Permani, R., & Vanzetti, D. (2016). Rice Mountain: Assessment of the Thai Rice Pledging Program. Agricultural Economics, 47(3), 273-284.

Prasongsuk, C. (2013). Title Factors and Production Strategies Influencing Banana Export Performance of Thai Agricultural Cooperatives to Japan. (Master’s thesis). Kasetsaart University, Bangkok.

Pratuckchai, W., & Patichol, P. (2016). 100 Years of Thai Cooperatives: History and Future Development Trends. Bangkok: The Cooperative League of Thailand.

Puusa, A., Hokkila, K., & Varis, A. (2016). Individuality vs. Communality - A New Dual Role of Co-operatives? Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 4(1), 22-30.

Rattanasuteerakul, K., & Thapa, G. B. (2012). Status and Financial Performance of Organic Vegetable Farming in Northeast Thailand. Land Use Policy, 29(2), 456-463.

Rigg, J., Salamanca, A., & Parnwell, M. (2012). Joining the Dots of Agrarian Change in Asia: A 25 Year View from Thailand. World Development, 40(7), 1469-1481.

Rigg, J., Salamanca, A., & Thompson, E. C. (2016). The Puzzle of East and Southeast Asia's Persistent Smallholder. Journal of Rural Studies, 43, 118-133.

Rosenthal, G., & Eiges, H. (2014). Agricultural Cooperatives in Israel. Journal of Rural Cooperation, 42(1), 1-29.

Tanrattanaphong, B. (2015). Successful Cases of Agricultural Cooperatives Marketing Activities for Improving Marketing Efficiency in Thailand. In 2015 FFTC-NACF International Seminar on Improving Food Marketing Efficiency – the Role of Agricultural Cooperatives, Seoul, South Korea, 14-18 September 2015. Taipei, Taiwan: Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC).

Thuvachote, S. (2006). Agricultural Cooperatives in Thailand: Innovations and Opportunities in the 21st Century. In 2006 FFTC-NACF International Seminar on Agricultural Cooperatives in Asia: Innovations and Opportunities in the 21st Century, Seoul, South Korea, 11-15 September 2006. Taipei, Taiwan: Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC).

Titapiwatanakun, B. (2012). The Rice Situation in Thailand. Metro Manila, Philippines: Asian Development Bank. Retrieved from

Vandergeest, P. (2007). Certification and Communities: Alternatives for Regulating the Environmental and Social Impacts of Shrimp Farming. World Development, 35(7), 1152-1171.

World Bank. (2016). Thailand - Systematic Country Diagnostic: Getting Back on Track - Reviving Growth and Securing Prosperity for All. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Yamao, M. (1996). Transitional Stage towards Structural Reforms of Agricultural Cooperatives in Thailand. South Pacific Study, 16(2), 175-197.

Research Articles


How to Cite
FAYSSE, Nicolas; ONSAMRARN, Wattanai. The Differing Strategies of Agricultural Cooperatives in Thailand: from Managing Market Links to Self-Reliance. Journal of Community Development Research (Humanities and Social Sciences), [S.l.], v. 11, n. 3, p. 13-26, sep. 2018. ISSN 2539-5521. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 06 july 2020. doi: