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Contract farming: Broken dreams

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Farmers dreaming of stable incomes find that contracts lead to debt & getting used by large agribusiness companies. Farmers cover both investment & the losses. 


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SEMINAR

Contract farming 'exploitative'

16/06/2012
Penchan Charoensuthipan

Contract farming has put farmers at a disadvantage as they have to shoulder all the burdens of investment and losses, with lucrative profits going into the pockets of companies engaged in the system, a seminar has been told.

Paisit Panitkul, a law lecturer at Chiang Mai University, said his study showed that contract farming was unfair to farmers as produce was supplied directly to giant agribusiness firms.

This resulted in companies taking advantage of farmers, he told the seminar at Chulalongkorn University yesterday.

Contract farming is a forward agreement between farmers and processing or marketing firms to supply agricultural products, frequently at predetermined and seasonally optimal prices.

Mr Paisit said many small farmers had entered into contract farming in the hope of getting a stable income.

"Contract farming represents a form of disguised exploitation, with companies taking all benefits from selling seeds, livestock, animal feed and farm equipment. Everything generates huge profits for agribusiness firms," Mr Paisit said.

Food security meant farmers faced exploitation by conditions set by companies, he added. He urged all agencies concerned, including consumers, to push for fair farming contracts.

Farmer Choksakul Mahakharung said he raised pigs under a contract that required him to buy swine from one giant agribusiness company.

He began contract farming as he hoped it would guarantee him income security, but he had to take loans from a bank to run his farm.

"I have to strictly abide by many restrictions under this contract which is a deceptive one," said Mr Choksakul, adding that he had plunged into debts of more than 10 million baht.

Contract farming has rapidly expanded to cover all types of agriculture, including swine, poultry and fish farms as well as growing rice and other crops.

Ubol Yoowa, a member of an alternative agriculture network, said contract farming treated farmers as merely labourers on their own farms.

Contract farmers had to supply their produce to a giant agribusiness company that did not take any responsibility for pollution problems caused by the use of chemicals or the release of pig excrement into public water sources, Mr Ubol said.

The contract farmers were forced to shoulder all the burdens of investment and the losses, he said.

(Source: Bangkok Post, SEMINAR, Contract farming 'exploitative', 16/06/2012, Penchan Charoensuthipan, link

Contract Farming Vocabulary


contract farming - farming "according to an agreement between a buyer and farmers, which establishes conditions for the production and marketing of a farm product or products. Typically, the farmer agrees to provide established quantities of a specific agricultural product, meeting the quality standards and delivery schedule set by the purchaser. In turn, the buyer commits to purchase the product, often at a pre-determined price" (See Wikipedia)

contract - a written (or oral) agreement that is legally binding สัญญา
fair farming contracts

exploitative - treating unfairly, using a person's work but giving little in return agribusiness firms
exploitative contracts

contract farming 'exploitative'

agribusiness - an agricultural and farming related business, a company with revenues from sales of agricultural products or sales to agricultural producers

disadvantage - something that makes someone or something less effective, successful or attractive ข้อเสียเปรียบ ข้อด้อย
advantage - a condition giving a greater chance of success ความได้เปรียบ

taking advantage - using someone for your own gain and benefit (while that person does not gain or benefit)
taking advantage of farmers

burden - a difficult task or thing that must be done; a difficult responsibility
shoulder - to deal with or accept something difficult แบกรับภาระ หรือสถานการณ์
shoulder burden - do a difficult task that must be done

investment - taking your money and putting it into projects to make a profit or earn interest (buying stock shares, bonds, real estate)
lucrative - profitable, can make a lot of money doing it, earning a lot of money ที่มีกำไรงาม

engaged
- actively involved in what you are doing
engaged in the system - working in the system; actively working in and part of the system

Contract farming has put farmers at a disadvantage as they have to shoulder all the burdens of investment and losses, with lucrative profits going into the pockets of companies engaged in the system, a seminar has been told. Paisit Panitkul, a law lecturer at Chiang Mai University, said his study showed that contract farming was unfair to farmers as produce was supplied directly to giant agribusiness firms. This resulted in companies taking advantage of farmers, he told the seminar at Chulalongkorn University yesterday.

predetermined- determined, set or fixed beforehand (farmer knows price of crop before he or she starts growing it)
predetermined prices

season
(noun) - different time periods of the year with different weather conditions for growing crops: rainy season, cool season, hot season
seasonal
(adjective)
seasonally
(adverb)

optimal (adjective) - the best possible
seasonally optimal prices - the best possible prices for the season of the year

stable - firmly fixed, not likely to move or change a lot คงที่ ไม่เปลี่ยนแปลง มั่นคง
income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings
stable income

Contract farming is a forward agreement between farmers and processing or marketing firms to supply agricultural products, frequently at predetermined and seasonally optimal prices. Mr Paisit said many small farmers had entered into contract farming in the hope of getting a stable income.

exploitation - using something in a harmful way for personal gain; unfair treatment of someone, or the use of a situation in a way that is wrong การใช้หาประโยชน์อย่างไม่ถูกต้อง

disguised - identity is hidden, don't know who or what it really is
disguised exploitation - hidden unfair treatment of another for personal gain

benefits - goods things that can happen from an activity ผลประโยชน์

livestock - animals raised on a farm for a profit such as beef cattle, dairy cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, geese and turkeys for commercial products such as meat, skins, or wool (See Wikipedia) ปศุสัตว์

animal feed - food for animals

security - the activity of making safe or protecting from harm ความปลอดภัย
food security - making a country or group of people safe from the danger of not having enough food

urged - advised someone very strongly about what action should be taken วิงวอน
all agencies concerned

consumers - people who buy things or services (individuals and families)

push for -
work hard to change the system; get something new
push for fair farming contracts

urged all agencies concerned to push for fair farming contracts

"Contract farming represents a form of disguised exploitation, with companies taking all benefits from selling seeds, livestock, animal feed and farm equipment. Everything generates huge profits for agribusiness firms," Mr Paisit said. Food security meant farmers faced exploitation by conditions set by companies, he added. He urged all agencies concerned, including consumers, to push for fair farming contracts.

strictly - in a very limited or limiting way; exactly or correctly; completely อย่างเข้มงวด

deceptive - not telling the truth
poultry - birds that are raised for their meat and eggs such as chickens and ducks (See Wikipedia) เนื้อสัตว์ปีก

swine - pigs 
guarantee - promising that something will happen for sure (See glossary) คำรับรอง, การประกัน

income security -
safety from the danger of not earning enough money

Farmer Choksakul Mahakharung said he raised pigs under a contract that required him to buy swine from one giant agribusiness company. He began contract farming as he hoped it would guarantee him income security, but he had to take loans from a bank to run his farm.

restrictions - limitations, rules that say what you can and cannot do 

abide by - to follow a rule, contract, agreement, law, decision, etc. ทำตาม 
abide by restrictions - 

strictly abided by restrictions
strictly abide by many restrictions under this contract

deceive (verb) - not telling the truth
deceptive (adjective)  
deceptive contract

plunged
into debts of more than 10 million baht
poultry - chickens and

"I have to strictly abide by many restrictions under this contract which is a deceptive one," said Mr Choksakul, adding that he had plunged into debts of more than 10 million baht. Contract farming has rapidly expanded to cover all types of agriculture, including swine, poultry and fish farms as well as growing rice and other crops.

alternative - another choice; something that is different from something else, especially from what is usual, and offering the possibility of choice ทางเลือก
network - a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. เครือข่าย
alternative agriculture network

responsibility - having to take care of some task as part of your job

take
responsibility for
take responsibility for pollution problems

excrement - poop,  faeces, human waste 

release
- to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere ปล่อย
release of excrement
release of pig excrement into public water sources

Ubol Yoowa, a member of an alternative agriculture network, said contract farming treated farmers as merely labourers on their own farms. Contract farmers had to supply their produce to a giant agribusiness company that did not take any responsibility for pollution problems caused by the use of chemicals or the release of pig excrement into public water sources, Mr Ubol said. The contract farmers were forced to shoulder all the burdens of investment and the losses, he said.

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