Contesting thoughts and attitudes to ‘Sufficiency’: Organic farming in an urbanised village in Thailand

In The Circular Economy and the Global South Sustainable Lifestyles and Green Industrial Development, 1st Edition
Chapter: 11
Book Chapter

Against the backdrop of the growth of mainstream agriculture driven by export-oriented commercial crops, the recent emergence of organic farming in Thailand is remarkable. Organic farming is considered as an opportunity to encourage people to adopt a Sufficiency Economy, the guiding principle of national sustainable development, and also contributes to the shift of the agricultural sector to the circular economy.
However, a closer look at a peri-urban village in Northeast Thailand reveals that people have differing attitudes to organic farming. One group of farmers pursues organic farming as a way to stabilize their economy. The majority simply reduced the chemical inputs to continue farming with minimum costs while their younger family members work outside of the village. However, some farmers continue to farm using chemicals, casting doubt on the effectiveness of organic methods. Such diverse attitudes derive from varying conditions of living, as well as the concerns and aspirations of farmers to maintain their living going into the future. Interestingly, such contrasting attitudes are not entirely incompatible, allowing people to adjust to different options. The pathway for local societies to make a transition relies on people making this kind of flexible adaptation.