Unquestionably, one of several hot topics facing Thai society nowadays is the ongoing integration into the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which will officially take place in less than three years from now. This, naturally, presents both opportunities and challenges for Thailand, especially in the agricultural sector, which has long been our economic backbone and main source of employment.
But what will be the benefits and challenges for Thailand’s farm sector? And how should we prepare to reap the potential gains?
Firstly, the AEC means more opportunities to expand Thai agricultural shipments in the region. Southeast Asia is already one of Thailand’s main agricultural export destinations. Thailand’s farm shipments to Asean countries totalled around 270 billion baht in 2011, growing by 24% from the year before, mainly rubber, sugar, rice and various grains.
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