Multi-crop solutions for sustainable agriculture : A Minor Field Study in Ratchaburi, Thailand
Sammanfattning: Agriculture is facing many challenges, such as decreased biodiversity, soil erosion, water scarcity, and social inequality, because of industrial farming and its focus on high yields at the expense of sustainability. This also includes Thailand and the province of Ratchaburi. There are, however, some farmers that have pursued sustainable agriculture in the region. The purpose of the study is therefore to investigate how these sustainable farming practices can contribute to increased prosperity, self-sufficiency, and an improved environment in Ratchaburi. Specifically, the study examines the strengths and weaknesses of sustainable agriculture in the region, as well as the opportunities and threats they face. Qualitative interviews were completed with farmers from three sustainable farms in the region. The results were analyzed with the help of PESTLE to describe the macro-factors that influence the agricultural environment .Thereafter a SWOT analysis was performed to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each farm as well as relate these to the opportunities and threats identified in the PESTLE analysis. The study found that the key strengths were multi-crop cultivation, product development, self-sufficiency and broad knowledge combined with collaboration. Several weaknesses arose from small-scale operations, which also made it challenging to make use of the opportunity of niche markets. A major challenge is the relatively low demand for sustainable products. Future studies could further examine how organic certifications can impact the demand for sustainable products, as well as how small sustainable farms can effectively reach niche markets.
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