Written by Mekong Institute
The Mekong Institute (MI) conducted a one-week Regional Workshop cum Structured Learning Visit (SLV) on “Successful Contract Farming Models in Thailand” on 18-23 May 2015. Twenty-eight government officials and private sector staff from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam participated in this SLV.
This workshop cum SLV aimed to raise the awareness of participants to various CF arrangements and cross-border contract farming in the GMS sub-region and its importance in the socio-economic development of agricultural-based communities. The course was held at the MI Residential Training Facility in Khon Kaen Province with structured learning visits in Khon Kaen, Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom and Phetchaburi provinces of Thailand
Two Resource Persons, a) Dr. Pornsri Laurujisawat, Vice President of Charoen Pokphand Group and Visiting Lecturer at Kasetsart University, and 2) Mr. Chainchai Thongsumrit, Freelance Consultant, contributed to the design and delivery of the program with their technical expertise, knowledge, best practices and lessons learned on the principle of contract farming and models, and how to strengthen farmer organization by linking their products to market opportunity.
The workshop cum SLV was comprised of four interrelated modules. Module 1 “Introduction to the Concepts of Contract Farming” introduced participants to the existing concepts and various models of contract farming, and the benefits of contract farming as an instrument in linking smallholder farms to modern value chain. Module 2 “Strengthening Farmer Organization in Market Accessibility” concentrated on the role, characteristics of farmer organization in linking smallholder farmers to the modern market, approaches of strengthening farmer organization and role of service providers to help smallholder farmer’s work with agribusiness companies. Module 3 on “Case Study of Smallholder Contracted Farmers in Linking to Modern Market from the Experience of Private Sector” equipped participants with some backgrounds on the contract farming arrangement implemented between smallholder farmers and private agribusiness companies in Thailand. Module 4 “Structured Learning Visit (SLV) to Contract Farming Companies and Contracted Farmers” provided opportunities for the participants to interact with contract faming companies, contracted farmers, and concerned government agencies who are directly involved in CF operations. Module 5 “Synthesis and Way Forward” allowed the participants to exchange understanding on certain issues and discuss how some of the knowledge gained can be applied in their own context.
The evaluations conducted throughout the course confirmed that the objectives were achieved and the SLV was successful. Most of the participants were very satisfied with the program as shown in the total average rating by participants on the overall assessment of the program. All participants appreciated the professionalism of the resource persons, organizing team, and supporting staff.