An analysis of Thailand’s sugar industry hampered by low world sugar prices, farmers consistently growing at a loss, and local opposition to new sugar mills as the government champions “Smart Farming,” an 80 percent increase of sugarcane production by 2026, and 29 new mills in the Northeast. How do these plans square up with reality?
The government wants Thailand to become the bio hub of ASEAN by 2027, and Isaan will play a role with its own bio hub in Ban Phai district. But this state-sponsored development is too often pushed through without meaningful participation of local people, writes guest contributor Maenwat Kunchon na Ayutthaya.
The government’s sugarcane strategy calls for the construction of 29 new sugar mills in Isaan, each with its own biomass power plant. Locals are concerned the mills and power plants will jeopardize efforts to promote organic agriculture, take communal resources, pollute water sources, and impact long-term health and well-being of communities.