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The sad state of Thai labour in the countryside


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I suggest you need to research more about the essence of Thai culture and what motivates Thai farming people. It is nothing like our western ambitious career path. It is tradition, family, religion and the like. Sabai, sabai. Do not judge Thai people by your own standards of success.

Just now, Yellowtail said:

If the bottom falls out of the rice market (subsidies aside) the rice rots in the field as no one can afford to pay people to harvest it.

Anyone with land can prepare the ground, plant seed, fertilise and harvest without a baht in their pocket. The system exists to make it happen. The rice market will continue to increase in volume along with population. There will always be the "middlemen" to finance it. 

What has changed here is the younger generations are better educated (taught to think) and have higher expectations. But the lot of a farmer has not changed, accepting all the risk and little reward, no different anywhere in the world. Here those new expectations have arrived faster. Success was a well feed family, now he is a subsistence farmer in debt, alone and aging. 

Ask yourself the question, could you plan your life as a farm laborer here? 

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So  have had my land now for 8  years, staff were easy to find way back then, generally  Burmese, Thais dont want to do  this work on the land. Ive noticed in the last 4-5  years more and more fi

No. They all want to work in Global or Homepro so they can sit on their asses all day taking selfies and playing Facebook.   If they have no work, they are not embarrassed just to beg p

Well even just to take care of the garden area they arent interested in, garden is 1  acre  2.5  rai and is  low maintenance, everything on sprinklers, Fruit is 12  rai, we  may  just abandon growing

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On 11/22/2020 at 8:04 PM, Yellowtail said:

 

Most factories either provide food or an additional allowance for food, and people get paid for 30 days for working 5 or six days a week, get overtime and thirty sick days a year. 

 

600 a day is 18,000 a month. Did thy work 12 months a year?

they didnt have a job, usually people without a job do what ever they can to get money especially when it is  more than factories are paying for a full day, giving them 2 or 3 days a week(much shorter hours than a factory worker and they still get to sit at home for half a day) for a couple of months is better than doing <deleted> all and getting nothing especially with covid putting so many out of work anyway. Boils down to them not wanting to work in the first place, seems to happen a lot in Thailand, even the ones in the big shopping centres would rather play on their phones than to serve/help you as can be seen any day of the week. Only an idiot would think they are better off sitting at home playing games than earning money for a few months,

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7 hours ago, Yellowtail said:

 

One really should not have anything to do with the other. What you have to pay your staff does not have any direct effect on what you are able to sell your product for.

IA remind me not to ask yellowtail to be my financial manager ,with most businesses labour is the most expensive input ,

Our small place we now have the wife's daughter in to help us cut some Napier grass and help chop it for silage ,it is only for a few hours in a day over 7-12 days ,I pay her just those few hours, but it has put 40% on to the cost of making  our silage.

We used to grow mung beans and at the time they were hand-picked , workers were  paid  by per kg  picked, we had local  labour one year we got a 10-15 Cambodians in ,not a good idea  they just picked the easy to get at pods ,not the  ones under the plant ,again  that was a very high percentage on our crop inputs .and the crop still had to be thrashed out by our local mobile thrasher.

Now they are all cut by combine 600 baht/rie job done ,call it progress, and I would say lower input costs.so in the end a bigger bottom line 

The only now  crop entirely harvested by hand is cassava ,that around here is done by a team of Cambodians ,who harvest and haul the crop in their own   Rot Itain, and charge per rie .  

The op grows top fruit . he can not control selling price ,but it stands to reason  it  certainly has a direct effect on  selling his crop,  if his picking costs are lower he is going to make more money on selling his crop .

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On 11/22/2020 at 1:50 PM, 473geo said:

 

Economic migrants. Plenty that remain, marry have kids, live in the countryside, build a home on parents land live rent free, do some local work, close to family, maybe work in government positions. travel into the urban areas for work or weekends to 'party'. I am not denying young people go where employment is available. I am critical of the concept of eradication of the family plot and replacing with mechanised large farms, as I feel it will destroy the options, back up, and support, that the Thai economic migrants currently enjoy.

One great stress relief is knowing when you are working if you are out of work tomorrow you can return to the family home and reassess. Thai people do not have a strong welfare system.

Although I understand the corporate drivers behind large mechanised farming, to destroy the face, and family farm culture of rural Thailand in my opinion is not the way to.

I know that  in my Wifes  village  many there have sold  their inherited  land, squandered the cash and now  cannot return to the land, her Sister is  one prime example.

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15 hours ago, OOTAI said:

He has often complained to my wife about how lazy the people are that periodically come and work for her.  She told me the other day that he had said, "aren't they ashamed to be doing so little when they see me out there working hard and me being much older than them".

Its  nice to hear some Thais stand  up and say this instead of  accusations of Thai bashing etc.

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3 hours ago, bodga said:

I know that  in my Wifes  village  many there have sold  their inherited  land, squandered the cash and now  cannot return to the land, her Sister is  one prime example.

Your point being? I know many people who have crashed cars, doesn't mean everybody should be prevented from driving.

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The farmer with a smaller holding seems to have a problem retaining any labor, any labor. I was pondering if this is being exacerbated by Thailand 4.0 when I picked up on the following in the UK's Guardian.

 

1% of farms operate 70% of world's farmland

 

"One per cent of the world’s farms operate 70% of crop fields, ranches and orchards, according to a report that highlights the impact of land inequality on the climate and nature crises.

 

Since the 1980s, researchers found control over the land has become far more concentrated both directly through ownership and indirectly through contract farming, which results in more destructive monocultures and fewer carefully tended smallholdings. ...

 

Asia and Africa have the highest levels of smallholdings, where human input tends to be higher than chemical and mechanical factors, and where time frames are more likely to be for generations rather than 10-year investment cycles. Worldwide, between 80% and 90% of farms are family or smallholder-owned. But they cover only a small and shrinking part of the land and commercial production.

 

Over the past four decades, the biggest shift from small to big was in the United States and Europe, where ownership is in fewer hands and even individual farmers work under strict contracts for retailers, trading conglomerates and investment funds."

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/24/farmland-inequality-is-rising-around-the-world-finds-report

 

I am not sure how Thailand's huge agro-business and commodity trading monoliths operate inside Thailand or overseas but I looked here to try and find out who the major rice traders are and the only one that mentioned rice was Thai Ha. I would assume that the likes of Thai Ha are maybe one of the businesses that the local farmers sell their harvested product to? Or do they still sell to the local rice mill owner/operators and THEY sell to the likes of Thai Ha?? Or does Thai Ha and the like already own these mills?

 

Maybe with smallholdings going to the wall and selling up, the shift from "small to big" will eventuate in Thailand where the producers will own the product from seed to... seed. I wonder where they will get their labor from?

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5 hours ago, NanLaew said:

Maybe with smallholdings going to the wall and selling up, the shift from "small to big" will eventuate in Thailand where the producers will own the product from seed to... seed. I wonder where they will get their labor from

The producers ,ie the farmers ?own the product ,can not see that the likes of CPF  liking  that, and they will soon muscle in and ,not so much as stopping it ,but making life not easy for they what they will think of as competition .

Where will the labour come from, what labour ,It will be all mechanization it has been happening for some years ,like I said in my last post ,mung beans ,all now havered  by combine ,

No more Hack-Khow -Port, harvesting maize  just harvesting the cobs by hand, and send them to the buyer to thrash out ,like we used to do now all done by combine .

I would say with C-19 finding cutters for cane could be a problem this year ,more cane will be cut by machine .

that is how your one percent operate the 70 % of crop fields, big machinery  low labour costs ,and we all benefit in cheap food .

Where the jury is out, is in Issan will Big Farming  Corporation  Inc try big scale farming in Issan ,I think not ,with poor soil and only one crop a year ,maybe it is  Hom Marley rice ,still think it is not viable for them ,the family farm will continue ,other local  farmers as contactors  will do all the work,  the small scale family farm, they will be just dog and stick farmers. 

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On 11/24/2020 at 9:15 PM, kickstart said:

IA remind me not to ask yellowtail to be my financial manager ,with most businesses labour is the most expensive input ,

Our small place we now have the wife's daughter in to help us cut some Napier grass and help chop it for silage ,it is only for a few hours in a day over 7-12 days ,I pay her just those few hours, but it has put 40% on to the cost of making  our silage.

We used to grow mung beans and at the time they were hand-picked , workers were  paid  by per kg  picked, we had local  labour one year we got a 10-15 Cambodians in ,not a good idea  they just picked the easy to get at pods ,not the  ones under the plant ,again  that was a very high percentage on our crop inputs .and the crop still had to be thrashed out by our local mobile thrasher.

Now they are all cut by combine 600 baht/rie job done ,call it progress, and I would say lower input costs.so in the end a bigger bottom line 

The only now  crop entirely harvested by hand is cassava ,that around here is done by a team of Cambodians ,who harvest and haul the crop in their own   Rot Itain, and charge per rie .  

The op grows top fruit . he can not control selling price ,but it stands to reason  it  certainly has a direct effect on  selling his crop,  if his picking costs are lower he is going to make more money on selling his crop .

 

Actually labor is not the most expensive component in most businesses, not even close. 

 

What I said was, what you pay your staff has no direct effect on what you are able to sell your product for. What you've said pretty much supports that. 

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As labor costs go up mechanization becomes more viable. As operations become more capital intensive and less reliant on labor they tend to get bigger, and small operations are not able to compete. Farmer goes into debt to buy a combine, a year later he's harvesting his neighbor's crops, ten years later he owns his neighbor's farm. Nothing new about it. 

 

My dad was born in 1912 and he saw the first steam tractor in Fergus County Montana, and in less than ten years there was not a team of horses left working. When I came to Thailand, driving from Bangkok to the plant in Kabinburi,  I would occasionally see someone (I assume) ploughing with buffalo. I haven't seen that in at least ten years.  You can say what you like about big ag, but there a smaller percentage  of the population is starving now than at any other time in the history of the world.

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On 11/25/2020 at 3:29 AM, 473geo said:

Your point being? I know many people who have crashed cars, doesn't mean everybody should be prevented from driving.

point  being all the unemployed from the rural  villages  have sold what they could  have gone  back to with no  back  up to  supply an income.

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