The introduction of oil palm in Northeast Thailand: a new cash crop for smallholders?

Siriluk Somnuek, M.A. Slingerland, C.M. Grünbühel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


As part of the Thai Government’s objective to increase energy security through biodiesel, oil palm was introduced to Northeast Thailand in 2005. Nong Khai Province was selected as a pilot project because of its suitable environmental conditions. This study assesses the acceptance of policy interventions and socio-economic conditions by adopters and non-adopters. We found that total farmland size was significantly higher among oil palm producers than among non-producers. Nevertheless, the area under oil palm cultivation did not increase in accordance with land size in the way rubber did. Oil palm and non-oil palm farmers had almost equal amounts of rice area thereby providing household food security. Oil palm did not replace food crops. Farmers investing in oil palm tend to base their livelihood around on-farm production, whereas non-adopters tend to diversify with off-farm income sources. Oil palm was found to be one component of a diversified farming system and an additional income source, albeit not the primary one. In conclusion, oil palm was a crop that had been tried by (wealthier) farmers with sufficient capital, and an aim to further diversify on-farm household income. Oil palm is certainly not (yet) contributing substantially to household income in Thailand’s Northeast.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-90
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Oil palm
  • self-sufficiency
  • Diversity of income
  • Farmer’s livelihood
  • Northeast Thailand

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The introduction of oil palm in Northeast Thailand: a new cash crop for smallholders?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this