Cooperatives in Thailand, like in all developing countries,
have been initiated by the government since 1915 with
the prime aim of using as a means to improve the livelihood
of small farmers. This is due to the increasing indebtedness
problem resulting from farmers who were suffering from
the shifting of self-sufficient economy to trade economy.
The natural disaster such as drought and flood even added
further to create more chronic and severe indebtedness
to the farmers. Consequently, they lost their farmland
and becoming laborers and thus leaving their debts unpaid.
first cooperative in Thailand named Wat Chan Cooperative Unlimited
Liability was established by the government on February 26,
1916, in Phitsanulok, following the Raiffeisen credit cooperative
type with a single purpose of providing farm credit and being
organized as a small village credit cooperative to help the
severely indebted farmers. The success of this cooperative type
in preventing many farmers' land from being foreclosed by the
moneylenders led to the increasing number of small village credit
cooperatives all over the country. The small credit cooperatives
had prevailed in the country until 1938 other cooperative types
then established in responding to the people's needs.
In 1966, the government-cum-credit cooperative-owned Bank for
Cooperatives was reorganized to the “Bank for Agriculture
and Agricultural Cooperatives” a state enterprise, functioning
as a financial center of agricultural cooperatives including
lending directly to individual farmers.
In 1968 with the objective to strengthen the cooperative movement,
the Government enacted the Cooperative Act, 1968, which allowed
the establishment of the Cooperative League of Thailand, functioning
as the apex organization of the cooperative movement. The said
Cooperative Act also allowed for the amalgamation program which
combined the neighboring small village credit cooperatives,
paddy and marketing cooperatives, land improvement and land
settlement cooperatives into a large scale cooperative at district
level performing multipurpose functions and were officially
categorized as agricultural cooperatives.
At present, the cooperatives in Thailand are officially categorized
to seven (7) types, namely:
and Credit Cooperative,