SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

Agrarian change in the Chao Phraya delta (1950-2020)

François Molle (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)

Date: 24 March 2021Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 24 March 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Seminar


The Chao Phraya delta, also known as Thailand’s rice bowl, has been the historical heart of commercial rice production in Thailand since the Bowring Treaty (1855). In the early 1900s, it accounted for 70% of the country’s production and 100% of exports. What happened to this agrarian system in the following 100 years? How did it respond to population change (fertility, migrations, division of land between heirs at each generation, etc), economic transformations (urbanization and in particular the growth of Bangkok, industrialization, rice price fluctuations, skyrocketing land prices, etc), technical change (eg rice cropping or aquaculture), or changes in water control (storage, irrigation infrastructure, individual pumping capacity, etc) and in the water regime (floods, drought, pollution, etc)? How does Thailand’s rice bowl look like in 2021? This seminar will discuss how particular patterns of agrarian change in the Chao Phraya Delta result from this multiplicity of drivers.

Speaker Biography

Dr François Molle is a senior researcher at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), France. He as 35 years of experience working on issues of water management, water governance and water policies, especially in Brazil, the Middle-East/Northern Africa and Thailand/Vietnam. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique, France, holds a Ph.D from the University of Montpellier, serves as an editorial board member for several journals, and is co-editor of Water Alternatives.

Discussant: Jonathan Rigg (University of Bristol)

Co-sponsor: Department of Development Studies, SOAS University of London


Time: Mar 24, 2021 03:00 PM London

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Meeting ID: 922 2502 7771
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Organiser: SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies