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Title: Social sustainability of conventional and organic rice farming in north-eastern Thailand

Authors: Chirawan Phantha; Jittima Prasara-A; Pornpimon Boonkum; Shabbir H. Gheewala

Addresses: Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham 44150, Thailand ' Energy and Environment for Sustainable Development Research and Training Center, Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham 44150, Thailand ' Technology and Informatics Institute for Sustainability (TIIS), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), 114 Thailand Science Park, Phahonyothin Road, Khlong Nueng, Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani, 12120, Thailand ' Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut's University of Technology, Thonburi, Bangkok 10140, Thailand; Centre of Excellence on Energy Technology and Environment, PERDO, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

Abstract: While the benefits of organic rice for consumers are obviously seen in terms of nutritional and health aspects, the social effects of conventional and organic rice farming are also important to be investigated. This study compared the social performances of conventional and organic paddy rice in the north-east of Thailand by using the social life cycle assessment approach. The three stakeholder groups examined were workers, local community and rice farmers. It was found that overall the social performance of the organic rice was better due to its better performance on food security and income satisfaction. In the site studied, organic rice has been cultivated for several years resulting in a slightly higher yield and lower production costs than the conventional rice product. Moreover, all supplies used in organic farming could be produced locally, which is desirable for food security.

Keywords: social life cycle assessment; S-LCA; social sustainability; social performance; conventional rice farming; organic agriculture; organic rice farming; Thailand.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGENVI.2021.120433

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 2021 Vol.20 No.1, pp.42 - 59

Received: 15 Feb 2021
Accepted: 07 Aug 2021

Published online: 17 Jan 2022 *

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