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Income diversification for rubber farmers through agroforestry practices. How to withstand rubber price volatility in Phatthalung Province, Thailand

Stroesser L., Penot E., Michel I., Tongkaemkaew U., Chambon B.. 2018. Revue Internationale des Etudes du Développement (235) : p. 117-145.

DOI: 10.18167/DVN1/BDKF4P

DOI: 10.3917/ried.235.0117

This study was conducted in the framework of the ANR/Heveadapt project1, in Southern Thailand (Phatthalung province), to analyze how smallholder tree plantations can adapt and survive in the face of profound changes in their socio-economic context. The study focus on rubber-based agroforestry systems in mature plantations to understand the extent to which respectively, rubber, associated crops, trees, livestock, and off-farm activities, contribute to income stability and farm resilience. Socio-economic performances were evaluated at two scales: the cropping system and the farming system using farming system modelling with the software Olympe. The characterization of farm economic structure shed light on two main strategies used by farmers to maintain their income despite volatile rubber prices. The best agroforestry systems, both in terms of land and labor valorization, associate rubber trees with fruit and timber trees. Farmers also take on off-farm activities to complement their family income. Finally, prospective modeling showed that most farms were robust to rubber price volatility due to the flexibility of their agroforestry systems. Farmers with no agroforestry system were weakened by over-reliance on rubber trees.

Mots-clés : caoutchouc; hevea brasiliensis; agroforesterie; petite exploitation agricole; diversification; revenu de l'exploitation; prix à la production; analyse économique; thaïlande

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