|Title:||<Articles>Can Cooperatives Improve the Incomes of Rubber Smallholders in Thailand?: A Case Study in Chumphon Province|
|Abstract:||Smallholders are the major planters of the Para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) in tropical Asia. One challenge they face is having to overcome the disadvantages of rubber processing and marketing; accordingly, organizing smallholders into cooperatives has been a major policy objective. The Thai government established smallholders' cooperatives in the 1990s and granted them smokehouses for processing latex into ribbed smoked sheets (RSSs). More than two decades have passed since then; the cooperatives' market share in the rubber processing/marketing industry has meanwhile declined to only 5% amid an accelerated growth in the private sector. This study aims to assess the impact of processing and marketing activities among Thailand's rubber cooperatives, based on a case study in Chumphon province. It was discovered that the profit per unit area (rai) from rubber production was significantly higher for cooperative members than for non-members, which was primarily due to the higher prices of rubber offered by these cooperatives. This became possible because cooperatives produced higherquality RSS than the private sector, which had to purchase unsmoked sheets (USSs) from a large number of rubber smallholders. Our regression analysis showed that cooperative membership ensured a higher profit per rai of 1, 407 baht. It was also found that member households earned 50% higher total household income than nonmembers. In rubber production, the members depended more on hired labor, such as tappers, while allocating a major proportion of their family labor to other work opportunities, especially to non-rubber agricultural activities, which are more profitable considering the current low prices of rubber worldwide.|
|Appears in Collections:||No.18-2|
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