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06 May 2010

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Martyn

Lawrence I guess that farmers get the rough end of the pitch fork the whole world over. Your post has enlightened me more to the plight faced by Isaan's farmers and not just the rice growers.

I arrived in Udon Thai city last night and this afternoon we're heading to the village. Your photos have given me a taste of things to come.

Lawrence

Martyn, good to hear you are back in Isaan. I look forward to reading your posts. But remember to have a great time!

Michael Hare

Farming anywhere is difficult. It always has been particularly difficult in Isarn where given the difficult climate (long dry season and poor soils) farmers are always living on the margins. But what annoys me is the open display of wealth put into rice mills these days. Huge rice mills seem to be springing up that have state-of-the-art technology (drying, grading, cleaning, polishing) and are in huge flash buildings. Okay, standards have to be met for export but then there is the HOUSE at the side which are huge (often in bad taste). These rice millers make money while the rice farmers never seem to make any money.

I clearly remember in the 1970s many farmer cooperative leaders getting shot. Farmer cooperatives and farmer marketing are extremely weak in Thailand. Compare this to my own country of New Zealand where both are extremely strong. There they hate the subsidized farming in Europe and North America.

Lawrence

Thanks for your informative comment, Michael. I agree about the flashy rice mills. There seems to be a new one somewhere nearby every harvest season. In Phana there are some small milling cooperatives and a rice bank, but I'm not sure how effective they are.

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