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The household economics of rubber intercropping during the immature period in Northeast Thailand

Hougni D.G.J.M., Chambon B., Penot E., Promkhambut A.. 2018. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 37 (8) : p. 787-803.

DOI: 10.1080/10549811.2018.1486716

In order to alleviate poverty in Northeast Thailand, the Thai government has promoted rubber farming, which has expanded at the expense of annual crops. Because of a long immature period, planting rubber represents a loss of income for poor farmers in the very first years. This paper analyzed how rubber intercropping during the immature period helps farmers to compensate for this loss of income. Economic performances of the most widespread rubber farming systems were analyzed using information collected from a questionnaire addressed to 35 farmers in Buriram province. A sub-sample of 22 farmers was further interviewed to estimate the contribution of rubber intercropping in the formation of the total annual income during the immature period. The results showed that interest in rubber intercropping has grown, with cassava and rice as the main associated crops. With additional costs of about 14,169 ¿/ha/year over monospecific rubber plantations, rubber-cassava intercropping systems generated a gross margin estimated at 11,340 ¿/ha/year for a 3-year period. Compared to a monospecific rubber plantation, rubber-cassava intercropping systems reduced management costs by 59% over the 6-year period of rubber immaturity. The cash-income drawn from intercropping ranged from 0 to 26.8% of the household's total annual income, which can be of considerable importance for low-income farmers.

Mots-clés : thaïlande

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