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Tree-Crop diversification in rubber plantations to diversity sources of income for small-scale rubber farmers in Southern Thailand

Jongrungrot V., Thungwa S., Snoeck D.. 2014. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques (321) : p. 21-32.

Rubber is an important cash crop for most smallholders in Thailand, where more than 95% of rubber is produced by small farmers who mainly grow rubber trees ( hevea ) as a monocrop (90% of plantations). But monocrops are subject to price fluctuations, and this system is being increasingly replaced by rubberbased agroforestry systems (rubber-AFS). The aim of this study was to assess the main trajectories of farmers who have changed or are moving from monocrop to rubber-AFS. The results show four different patterns of diversification: growing fruit trees as a monocrop, then changing to rubber-AFS; growing timber trees as a monocrop, then changing to rubber-AFS; changing from monocrop rubber to rubber-AFS; starting with rubber-AFS from the beginning. We also found that farmers use seven types of crop associations in their plots, depending on the economic uses of the intercropped trees. A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) was conducted in addition to the economic analysis, with a view to developing guidelines to improve the future of hevea-based plantations.

Mots-clés : hevea brasiliensis; plantation forestière; système d'exploitation agricole; revenu de l'exploitation; culture en mélange; agroforesterie; caoutchouc; analyse économique; changement technologique; développement agricole; politique de développement; thaïlande

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