Title of Research
- Does cooperative improve incomes and other economic welfare of the rubber smallholders? Empirical evidence from Thailand
Brief Content of my Research
The Thai Government established Rubber Smallholders’ Cooperatives in the 1990s when many rubber smallholders suffered from the rubber price crisis. The government provided smokehouses and other facilities to the established cooperatives for processing latex to ribbed smoked sheets (RSS) via unsmoked sheet (USS). My research in South Thailand pointed out that the rubber cooperatives offered the opportunity of processing latex to high-quality USS/RSS and helped the cooperative members to diversity their income sources while keeping rubber income high. However, the rubber smallholders in Northeast Thailand organized their cooperatives without substantial assistance from the government. They did not receive government grants for establishing smokehouses unlike those in South Thailand, and as a result, they mainly produce cup-lump and sell it through their cooperatives. A question arises that what is the role of the cooperatives in such circumstances, and how can the cooperatives compete with the private sector there? Therefore, during 2019-2020, I will conduct field research in Bung Kan province focusing on both members and non-members of cooperatives. I will select a few villages where cooperatives are organized and investigate the current status of members and non-member smallholders in rubber processing and marketing and the challenges they face. This fieldwork will provide 1) a deep understanding on current status of members and non-members 2) problems faced by members and non-members in the processing/marketing of rubber. 3) limitations/challenges of non-members in participating in the cooperatives in Northeast Thailand, etc.
Rubber processing at the cooperative Rubber processing at households’ level