Community Empowerment and Contract Farming : A study of Japanese contract farming in China and Thailand
This project studies the effects of contract farming on the community, particularly regarding community empowerment, by employing the Empowerment and Social Capital Index as a tool to analyze farmers’ activities related to contract farming.
The research studied contract farming as an economic activity under globalized capitalism or the neoliberal regime, which impacts farmers’ households and the agrarian community in an era where transnational capital movement is less controlled by the state. Thus Japanese contract farming in China and Thailand were selected as case studies.
The main argument was how contract farming conducted by transnational companies affects empowerment, which in the present research mainly means the capacity to solve the problems of farmers and agrarian communities, which are the foundation unit of the nation - state.
This research found that, first, the farmers in Thailand can be categorized as empowered according to the Empowerment and Social Capital Index, but the index is far from comprehensive. Second, the empowerment of farmers varies. It depends on perspective, space, and time, which lead to third finding - that an understanding of the function of contract farming is significant. Fourth, a function of contract farming is to transform relationships, both between farmers themselves and between them and the environment. Finally, it was found that under the contract farming system individual empowerment and community empowerment may be paradoxical.