Farmers getting ripped off by big companies
Ref: "Lend a helping hand to those who give us food", Editorial, June 29.
My personal estimate is that the biggest contract farming operation in Thailand concerns broiler-chicken growing. About 80 to 90 per cent of poultry farms in Thailand that currently operate under contract-farming agreements - as estimated by The Nation - has rendered huge profit to big businesses at the suffering and hardship of farmers.
Four decades ago, a Thai agricultural-product company started importing a special breed of fast-growing broiler chicken into Thailand. This company started growing extremely fast by emulating techniques and tactics from chicken operators in the US.
Thus, there are currently dozens of companies within this company that deal with everything in a broiler-chicken's life - starting from the production and distribution of one-day chicks, farm-building, farm utensils, feed, additives, vaccines - all the way up to marketing and exporting chicken products. This integrated company has grown stronger in time while our farmers were constantly taken advantage of.
In the US, chicken farmers are suffering the same way as our own. But they are more organised and constantly fighting for fairer treatment from companies. What they are campaigning for at the moment is for companies to give a 90-day written notice before suspending delivery of chicks to farmers; for companies not to push farmers to make significant additional investment in their facilities - or face retaliation; and for companies to provide farmers a way for them to keep their right to be heard in court.
Back in Thailand, one thing we know is our farmers are weaker and thus suffering much more than their counterparts in the US. How are we going to help them and simply provide them with the fairness that they deserve?