Workers unload rice from a truck in northeastern Thailand. Pic: AP.

University of Thai Chamber of Commerce did a very long survey (it is 56 pages long) of 1,228 farmers between September 2-15, 2013. This survey is a few months old and it doesn’t take into account the current problems and grievances, but BP does think it is still instructive of overall view of farmers about rice pledging and policies for helping farmers as well as the state of rice farming.

1. Demographics

1A Gender:
Male: 53%
Female: 47%

1B Age:
20-29: .3%
30-39: 7.4%
40-49: 39.5%
50-59: 39.4%
60+: 13.3%

BP: Remember, we are not talking about farm workers, but about farm owners so the age is higher.

1C Education:
Lower than primary school: 11.5%
Primary School: 41.0%
High School: 27.2%
Vocational Cert/higher vocational certificate: 13.1%
Bachelor’s Degree: 6.8%
Bachelor’s or higher: .3%

BP: 80% high school or less….

1D Do you have an extra job?
Yes: 44.6%
No: 55.4%

1E Your location
North: 38.5%
Northeast: 38.8%
Central: 17.4%
South: 5.3%

1F No. of people in Household
1-2: 2.7%
3-4: 46.1%
5-6: 34.6%
7-8: 14%
More than 8: 2.5%

BP: See below

1G Monthly income per household
Less than 5,000: .7%
5,000-10,000: 10.1%
10,001-25,000: 42%
25,000-50,000: 38.3%
50,001-100,000: 7.9%
More than 100,000: 1.1%

BP: Remember, we are not talking about farm workers, but about farm owners from small farms to bigger farms. This contrasts with nationwide average monthly income per household of 25,403 Baht (as of Q2 of 2013 per NSO). On one hand, you can say that farming income is lower than the average – although not all of income is from farming of course – but then on another, we are talking about larger-than-average households – am not sure of the exact figure, but simple maths tells you it is larger than 4 whereas the national average is 3.2 (per NSO as of 2010). Nevertheless, many do clearly have income and the average is around the nationwide income (52.8% of households earn less than 25,000 Baht a month which is below the national average).

1H Amount of farm land
Own land: 47.92% (avg 14.92 rai)
Rent: 4.8% (avg 25.72 rai)
State: .1% (2 rai)
Own land and rent: 45.9% (avg 19.12 rai)
Rent and from state: .1% (avg 70 rai)
Own and from state: .7% (avg 23.38)
Own, rent, and from state: .7% (avg 26.88 rai)

BP: It is a little unfortunate, this is not more precisely divided up on how much of the ‘own land and rent’ category land is rented and how much is owned. As way of comparison according to National Statistics Office, the amount of land owner per farmer (this includes all farmers although rice farming is just over 50% of total land), the breakdown is:

Safari

Safari

BP: So no doubt land rental prices have gone up since the introduction of rice pledging and this is an increase on the cost of production for many farmers, but the majority of land used by farmers is their own land with 5% renting only although around 46% own and rent.  

NOTE: More to come. The question order and numbers for question, e.g 1A, is per BP’s order.