The State-Corporate-People Nexus: The Thai agriculture initiative

The SDGs have served as a pretext to include private sector representatives on high-level governmental bodies in Thailand. In the Sustainable Development Committee, civil society only plays a minor role when compared with businesses.

A government-initiated Civil-State (Pracha-Rath) policy aims to promote the role of the private sector in investment, establish cooperation between private sector and community enterprises and develop new agricultural schemes. Although this claims to help farmers by lowering the prices of chemical fertilizers, the Social Watch report notes that “the real intention is to boost the sales of these chemical agricultural materials”. The policy is “irrelevant to sustainable agricultural development” it claims, “because excessive usage of pesticides has always been a major problem for Thai farmers”.

On the positive side, the Thai report registers that public opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) led to the cancellation of an attempt to amend the 1999 law on plant variety protection to include provisions favourable to seed companies.

Source: Thailand National Report, Social Watch Report 2017.