The Transformation from Farmer to Entrepreneur in Khon Kaen Province, Thailand
Nutchanat Somkaun, Rukchanok Chumnanmak, Wanichcha Narongchai and Panu Suppatkul
This article aims to illustrate the process of becoming a farmer-entrepreneur in Khon Kaen, Thailand. The study employed qualitative research methodology, using both participant and non-participant observation and in-depth interviews with six farmer-entrepreneurs, one knowledgeable person from the community, and one local official. The selection of farmers was based on their knowledge and skills in agricultural production, business management, marketing, and their goals in profit-making for their business. The researchers employed the content analysis method in analyzing the data. The findings show that most farmer-entrepreneurs in Khon Kaen had work experience in fields outside of agriculture. However, they were agricultural enthusiasts who were discontented with their previous jobs or were retired. They either saw opportunities in agricultural business or wanted to improve the social acceptance of farming as an occupation. There were five phases of becoming farmer-entrepreneurs: 1) formation, which included finding information and collecting knowledge; 2) struggle, which covered trying out planting and selling the products; 3) setting goals, which included learning new techniques, understanding meanings and strategies of becoming farmer-entrepreneurs, and improving production methods; 4) establishing networks to exchange knowledge of production and marketing techniques; and 5) becoming full farmer-entrepreneurs, which is defined as having many distribution channels and enough quality products for sale. The five phases illustrate clearly the profit-calculated characteristics of business procedures.