Published: 13 Jun 2011 at 15.11
Political strife and world economic crisis put brakes on development recently. Best bet for Thai agriculture is R&D for increased productivity.
As an example of agricultural R&D in action (the topic of today’s article), Thailand recently decided to stop using the insecticides that may be the cause of pest outbreaks. This waspraised by the International Rice Research Institute in Manila, an organization at the forefront of agricultural R&D: “Abamectin and cypermethrin are widely used in rice-growing nations to kill pests but scientists believe the chemicals are the main cause of brown plant hopper outbreaks because they also kill natural predators” (From “End to insecticide use welcomed,” Bangkok Post, 05-06-11, page 4 and IRRI press release).
Read a previous Bangkok Post article on the regional income inequality in Thailand related to today’s article here.
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DEVELOPMENT: Farm reform to bridge gap by Chatrudee Theparat, Business Reporter
Thailand’s agricultural sector needs a major overhaul to increase the value of farm products and promote energy crops, organic farming, and research and development to increase productivity, says the state planning agency.
Agricultural reform could be the best solution to help narrow the income gap between the haves and have-nots, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).
The income gap has narrowed but the rate is still far from the target set in the 10th five-year plan that ends later this year, said Thanin Pa-em, the deputy secretary-general of the NESDB.
The plan aimed to reduce the income gap between the richest 20% of the population and the poorest 20% to about 10 times by September 2011.
The gap was 14.3 times in 2006 and narrowed to 11.9 times in 2009, partly because of the government’s measures to help low-income earners.
In 2009, the richest 20% accounted for 54.39% of the country’s income and the poorest 20% had 4.56%.
Most of the poorest group are engaged in agriculture and lack access to financial services. They also face high production costs, lack technology, and have relatively low education.
The agriculture sector accounted for 11.63% of GDP in 2009, employing 14.69 million people out of a total labour force of 38.97 million
The proportion of people under the poverty line - defined as 1,386 baht a month – in 2006 was 9.95% out of a population of 63.4 million. In 2009 the proportion was 8.12% of 63.5 million, with the poverty line set at 1,579 baht a month.
According to the NESDB study, domestic political strife between 2008 and 2010 and theworld economic crisis put brakes on Thailand’s economic and social development.
It said productivity grew 2.1% in 2007, but then contracted by 0.29% in 2008 and 4.46% in 2009, mainly due to political conflict and the slowing economy.
The plan aimed to increase productivity by 3% a year.
Investment in research and development averaged only 0.21% to GDP between 2007 and 2009, well below the target of 0.5% and compared with 2-3% in most developed countries.
Logistics cost as a proportion of GDP was 18.8% in 2007 and 17.9% in 2010, also far short of the NESDB’s goal to cut the figure to 13% by this year.
The final draft of the 11th plan, to run from Oct 1 this year to Sept 30, 2016, will soon be ready for public hearings.
(Source: DEVELOPMENT, Farm reform to bridge gap, 13/06/2011, Chatrudee Theparat, Business Reporter, link)
Income Inequality Vocabulary
inequality, income inequality, economic inequality - when most of a country’s income and assets are possessed by a small group of people, not spread equally over the whole population like it is in many European countries like Sweden and Switzerland (See a colour-coded map of world economic inequality as measured by the Gini coefficients and also Wikipedia on income inequality and income inequality metrics).
regional income inequality - when some regions of a country (Bangkok) are much richer than other areas (Isan)
Gini index, Gini coefficient - a measure of inequality (in income or consumption expenditure here) rich western countries are usually around 0.3, Latin America is the worst around 0.5 (See The Economist on Gini Coefficient and Inequality and Wikipedia)
income distribution - how a country’s total income economy is distributed amongst its population (either equally or unequally) (See Wikipedia) การกระจายรายได้
best bet - the choice with the best possible outcome (all outcomes are uncertain, making a decision under uncertainty is like placeing a “bet” or gambling)
insecticide - chemicals that kill insects (pests) that are dangerous to crops (See Wikipedia)
abamectin - a widely used insecticide (See Wikipedia)
cypermethrin - a widely used insecticide (See Wikipedia)
pests - insects and small animals that damage crops
brown plant hopper - a small insect that feeds on rice plants, there were numerous brown planthopper outbreaks in South East Asia in the 1980s, in 2005-2008, and new ones are expected, in 2010 and 2011 further outbreaks have been reported in Thailand and Indonesia, excessive use of urea as nitrogenous fertilizer and insecticides can lead to outbreaks by increasing the fecundity of the brown planthopper, and by reducing populations of natural enemies (See Wikipedia)
predator - an animal that kills and eats other animals
natural predators - predators that do the same thing as insecticides in the state of nature when humans are not involved (humans by using insecticides can kill natural predators which can lead to infestations like the brown plant hopper)
outbreak - when something bad suddenly starts to happen (examples: disease outbreak, outbreak of violence, outbreak of war, outbreak of pests)
Research and Development (R&D) - the process of of studying a subject in detail (with experiments perhaps) and creating new, improved ways of doing things and new products (See Wikipedia)
agricultural R&D - research and development aimed at improving productivity in agriculture (See Wikipedia on agricultural extension)
at the forefront - the most advanced, ahead of the rest
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) - a world famous rice research institute located in the Philippines, famous for being the source of the research that started the green revolution, rice research institute established in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in cooperation with the Government of Philippine government, developed new breeds of rice (See website and Wikipedia)
green revolution - applied agricultural research in the 1960s that resulted in high yielding varieites of maize, wheat, and rice that allowed food production to keep pace with worldwide population growth (See Wikipedia)
reform - improvement, a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
gap - a large difference between people or groups (here: a difference in income and wealth) ช่องว่าง
bridge gap - reduce the gap so that it does not exist, eliminate the gap (so there there is no or little difference in income and wealth)
sector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,…) (SeeWikipedia)
agricultural sector - all farms and farmers in the economy, as well as farm-related businesses
overhaul - to improve something so that every part of it works properly, repair completely and rebuild ปรับปรุงใหม่
promote - take steps to make people start doing an activity more
energy crops - crops such as sugar or cassava that are used to make ethanol that is mixed with gasoline to reduce reliance on imported oil
organic farming - farming that does not use factory-made chemicals for fertilizer (plant food), pesticides (to kill insects) and herbicides (to kill weeds)
productivity - producing more with the same amount of inputs (labour, energy, etc) การผลิตสินค้า
state - government รัฐ
state planning agency - an agency of the central government that creates long-term plans for the economic development of the whole country (such as a “five-year plan”)
National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) - (“Sa-pa-pat”) Thailand’s state planning agency that makes long-term plans for economic development, creates five year plans with an agenda of: 1. Alleviation of Poverty and Income Distribution problems, 2. Enhancing Thailand’s Competitiveness, 3. Promoting Social Capital Development, 4. Promoting Sustainable Development (See Wikipedia)
five-year plan - the long-term economic development plans that state planning agencies typically make (also make 10-year plans) (See Wikipedia)
narrow (noun) – not wide; having a small distance from one side to the other, especially in comparison with the length แคบ
narrow (verb) - make narrower, reduce width
income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings
income gap - the difference in income between two groups of people (for example, the rich and the very poor)
income gap has narrowed - meaning: there is less of a difference in incomes of rich and poor
the haves and have-nots - the people who are not poor (haves) and the people who are poor (have-nots)
rate - the level or speed at which something happens or changes อัตรา
target - a goal เป้าหมาย
population - all the people who live in a country (or a city or some area of the country)
measures - actions that are intended to achieve goals or deal with a problem มาตราการ
engaged - actively involved in an activity sss
lack - do not have ขาดแคลน
access - the right or opportunity to have or use something ได้รับสิทธิ์หรือโอกาสในการใช้
financial services - the business of dealing with money for people or providing advice about money and investments (includes loans, insurance, banking for business, credit cards, etc) (note: one reason why even people with decent incomes in the informal sector cannot get loans is because they do not pay income tax, therefore there is no official record of the income they earn and no credit rating that could secure them a loan) (See Wikipedia)
GDP - Gross Domestic Product, the total value of all goods and services produced by a country in one year (See Wikipedia)
labour force - all the people working in an economy (or actively seeking work, if temporarily unemployed)
proportion - the percentage or part of the whole population (for which something is true)
poverty - the condition of being extremely poor ความจน
poverty line - the level of income in a country that officially indicates poverty (in Thailand 1,576 baht per month)
under the poverty line - officially classified as “poor” by the government (when a family makes less than the amount that indicates “poverty”)
domestic - within the country ภายในประเทศ
strife - disagreement or fighting between people or groups การขัดแย้งกัน, การต่อสู้กั
domestic political strife - disagreements and fighting over politics inside the country
crisis - an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤตการณ์
world economic crisis - the period of near economic collapse and slowdown of the world economy in 2008 (See Wikipedia)
put brakes on - make slow down or stop
contracted - became smaller, shrunk
conflict - an angry disagreement between people or groups ความขัดแย้ง ความไม่ลงรอยกัน
logistics - the process of moving goods from factory to warehouse to stores
far short of goal - did not reach goal, goal far from being achieved, did not even come close
figure - an amount of money จำนวนเงิน
draft - to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted (revisions and changes will be made to teh document) ร่าง
final draft - the last revision to a document (the next copy will be the actual document, not a draft)
hearings - an official meeting to collect facts about a situation or problem
public hearings - a hearing that the general public (including the media) is invited to watch, hear and know about