The Effects of Alternative Agriculture and Fair Trade on the Development of Producer Groups and Their Members: Case Studies from Northern Thailand

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  • This study examines the economic, social and environmental effects of alternative agricultural methods, traded through fair trade mechanisms, on producers in northern Thailand. These effects are compared with those of conventional agriculture and practised on the same farm). The chosen research projects and areas in Chiang Mai province, Thailand were the government alternative agriculture project at Village Three in Pong Yang, and the non-governmental organisations alternative agriculture project at San Pay Yang and the neighbouring San Leung. The government and non-government organisations involved in the extension and marketing of alternative agriculture are outlined and associated labelling and certification issues are addressed. Economic comparisons found that alternative agriculture is a viable economic alternative to conventional agriculture and mixed agriculture when non-farm income and home consumption are included. However, the larger average size of alternative agriculture farms and the external funding of the organisations involved with alternative agriculture, must also be considered. Social comparisons indicated that alternative agriculture results in educational and health benefits when compared to conventional agriculture. Environmental comparisons showed that on average alternative agriculture has the highest level of crop and livestock integration, the lowest number of artificial agricultural inputs used, and the highest number of alternatives to artificial inputs applied.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International