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Evolution of rural development strategies and policies: lessons from Thailand

Marzin J., Michaud A.. 2016. Montpellier : UMR Art-Dev, 36 p..

This country case study has been financed by the OECD Development Centre, in partnership with Korean authorities, for the preparation of its Rural Development Policy in Perspective. Agriculture has played a critical role in Thai development trajectory and was for long a focus of government's efforts. It has supported industrial development through transfers of labour and capital, and with a downstream strategy promoting the transformation of products. It resulted in the emergence of national champions with large agro-businesses. The progressive integration of overall rural development objectives into the policy agenda occurred in parallel with an effective and continuous effort towards the improvement of living conditions in rural areas and human development. Thailand has a good record in terms of access to basic services due to a continuous investment in rural infrastructure (roads, water and electricity) education and health. However, rural¿urban disparities, as well as lagging regions, remain a critical issue for the government. More has to be done than providing compensatory measures, and new, integrated and place-based strategies need to be designed in order to address the existing challenges related to mega-urbanisation, food safety issues and new consumers' requirements, climate change, and the degradation of the natural environment. The necessary policy shift raises the question of effective decentralisation and the need to strengthen local governments.

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