Tuesday, June 23, 2009
When farmers become "employees" of foreign farm owners
If foreigners use "nominees" to buy Thai farmland (because they can't do it legally themselves), Thai farmers will become just "employees" of foreign land-owners. The agriculture minister says he has heard rumours to that effect but can't get it confirmed. But officials at his ministry have insisted that several foreign countries have approached Thai brokers and even the officials themselves to sound out the possibility of owning farmland and exporting agricultural products from Thailand from their own "production line" here.
That's a huge controversy that threatends to blow up if rice farming falls into the hands of non-Thais. It's not only illegal. It's going to be seen to be a new form of "economic invasion" of this country.