Getting young people to farm: how effective is Thailand's young smart farmer programme?

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Abstract

In 2014, the Thai government initiated the Young Smart Farmer (YSF) programme to counter the decline in the number of young people involved in farming. The YSF programme has three desired outcomes: first, to increase participants’ financial independence; second, to enhance the adoption of innovative farming methods; and third, to retain participants in the long-run by satisfying them. This study aimed to evaluate if these outcomes have been achieved. A Propensity Score Matching (PSM) method was applied to analyse the data collected from programme participants (61 responses) and non-participants (115 responses) through a survey in the Prachin Buri province in Thailand. Participation was determined by education, farmland size, farming experience, and challenges to farming. Most participants (~79%) stated that they were satisfied with the programme; however, the programme did not increase financial independence and the adoption of innovative farming methods. As such, the programme might not be very effective in motivating young people to continue, return to, or enter farming. We recommend that the programme can be improved by adjusting training and field trips to meet the needs of participants in different production systems. The programme should also be expanded beyond providing knowledge and information, and it could offer additional monetary and non-monetary support to participants, such as loans for technology investments needed for farm expansion and competitive advantages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11611
JournalSustainability
Volume13
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

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