From Highland Tomatoes to Lowland Markets: the Diversification of Power Relations in Thai Tomato Trading
17 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2021
Date Written: November 5, 2021
This article aimed to differentiate the roles and power relations of different actors in the tomato trading network in Thailand from highland areas to lowland markets.
Crucially, the fact that the tomato trading network is not monopolized by one or a few actors or groups is discussed.
A multi-sited research was used to explain how highland production in the Ban Na Fon, Hot district, Chiang Mai province, and the lowland market of Talad Thai, central region market, Pathum Thani province, are linked. During the fieldwork, which was conducted between 2016 and 2017, data was gathered and analyzed by interviewing many actors at different levels, such as tomato seedling wholesalers, tomato growers, entrepreneur farmers, local transport companies, provincial market merchants, and lowland tomato traders. Commodity network analysis was then applied to differentiate various actors and to indicate their roles and power relations with each other. The various actors were systematically divided into three processes: (i) highland tomato production, (ii) transferring of tomatoes from the highland production sites to lowland markets, and (iii) lowland market trading. Each process includes different actors that have complicated power relations that control and negotiate tomato growing and the trading network.
Keywords: Power Relation, Highland Agriculture, Commodity Network, Multi-sited Research, Lua Ethnic
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