Climate Change Adaptation in the Thai Rice Sector: Why Social Context Matters

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Ethan Westbury
Climate change has already caused significant problems in Thailand’s rice cultivation industry. These issues will only worsen as the effects of climate change intensify, threatening the country’s economy and food security. To address these challenges, the Thai government has proposed a wide range of technological and financial solutions. This thesis investigates the extent to which current and proposed climate adaptation measures address the heterogeneity of Thai rice farmers. Analysis of policy documents from the Thai government and NGOs reveals that proposed solutions cater to more affluent farmers with access to key agricultural inputs, neglecting the needs of smallholder farmers with no land and rising levels of debt. Such a narrow approach could lead to maladaptation and the exclusion of less privileged farmers. This study emphasizes the importance of explicitly considering farmers’social context when designing new solutions to ensure equitable outcomes for all Thai rice farmers.
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