A most suc­cess­ful re­set­tle­ment project

(Mem­oirs of an Agri Journalist)

Agriculture - - Contents -

WE KEEP RE­MEM­BER­ING a very suc­cess­ful land re­form re­set­tle­ment project that we vis­ited in 2013 in Thai­land. This was the Nong-Wah Agri­cul­tural Vil­lage in the province of Cha­cho­engsao, some two hours drive from Bangkok to­wards the north­east. In 1978, the Thai King al­lo­cated 200 hectares of brush­land to 50 land­less fam­i­lies so they could en­gage in farm­ing. When we vis­ited the vil­lage, all the 50 fam­i­lies, no ex­cep­tion, had be­come mil­lion­aires in their own right. From prac­ti­cally zero as­set, each fam­ily had be­come richer by at least six mil­lion baht. Many, how­ever, had ac­cu­mu­lated much more as­sets than that.

The trans­for­ma­tion was a re­sult of the co­op­er­a­tion of the bank and CP Foods, the gi­ant food and agri­cul­ture com­pany in Thai­land.

In the be­gin­ning, the set­tlers had no money to start their farm­ing. But CP Foods had a bright idea. Their ex­perts trained the farm­ers to take care of breed­ing hogs to pro­duce piglets the sci­en­tific way. Then CP Foods would buy all the piglets for its con­tract farm­ing of slaugh­ter hogs with farm­ers out­side of Nong-Wah.

CP Foods con­vinced the bank to lend each set­tler 300,000 baht as cap­i­tal to pay for the con­struc­tion of hog houses, the breed­ing an­i­mals, feeds and other ex­penses. The gi­ant firm as­sured the bank that the farm­ers would be able to re­pay their loans be­cause they were as­sured of the mar­ket for the wean­lings they pro­duced. And in­deed, the bor­row­ers were able to amor­tize all their loans.

Pakdee Thai Siam was eas­ily one of the most suc­cess­ful set­tlers we met who had be­come a multi-mil­lion­aire. He was 50 when we in­ter­viewed him and was the pres­i­dent of the vil­lage co­op­er­a­tive. He re­ceived a monthly salary of 1,500 baht per month from the co-op but he made much more than that from his pigs and other projects.

He started tak­ing care of 30 sows which grew and grew in num­ber through the years. At the time of our in­ter­view in 2013, he was tak­ing care of 600 sows, each pro­duc­ing about 22 wean­lings a year. At 1,200 baht per wean­ling, Pakdee was able to gross 26,400 baht from the 22 piglets pro­duced by one sow per year.

Pakdee seemed re­luc­tant at first to dis­close how much profit he made ev­ery month, but af­ter some prod­ding, he ad­mit­ted that he

From vir­tu­ally zero as­set, Pakdee Thai Siam was mak­ing a net in­come of 200,000 baht a month in 2013.

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