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Land Settlement Cooperatives

            The primary objective of Land Settlement Co-operatives is to allocate land to the landless farmers or holding too small piece of land in order to make better living conditions. Its operational co-operatives. However, land settlement co-operatives put more emphasis on land development including familiarizing members with appropriate farming techniques and modern irrigation methods.

            The first allocation of agricultural land to farmers using co-operative method was introduced in 1935 in Pathumthani province. Total farmland of 657 hectares was purchased from the Ministry of Finance for allotment in the form of land hire-purchase co-operative. Later in 1938, by the government’s issuance of the Royal Decree Determining the Forcible Area in Chiangmai province, the first Land Settlement Co-operative was established in Sansai district, Chiangmai province, covering the area of 1,426 hectares.

            In 1975 the enactment of the Land Reform Act B.E.2518 set up the Agricultural Land Reform Office : ALRO to handle the allocation of farmland. The new land settlement cooperative was automatic freeze. The on-going land settlement cooperatives still operate to the completion of issuing land title such as title deeds. After that they will operate as general agricultural cooperatives.

Types and Main Business
            There are three main types subject to the source of land received for allocation.
           
- Land Settlement Co-operatives from any public vacant land and farmers who have fulfilled the co-operative conditions will later be given the right of land ownership
- Land Hire-purchase Co-operatives – may be purchased from private land owners for allotment. When the farmers have paid all the installments and fulfilled all the requirements, they will be granted the right of land ownership.
- Land Tenant Co-operatives. – forest reserve areas which are extensively squatted by farmers and cannot be restored to their original condition may be acquired and rented out to farmers through land tenant co-operative method. Land ownership will not be transferred to farmers, but the right of land utilization can be inherited.
The aggregate business volume of land settlement cooperatives during 1990 to 2001 is shown in Figure 8, and the average business volume (per member) is shown in Figure9.
Although the main businesses of land settlement cooperatives are in the same function of agricultural cooperatives but the graphs showed the opposite performance of members’ participation that the most important activity is marketing function. In the fluctuation, upward trends are noticeable each activity.