Cooperatives Day in Thailand Date in the current year: February 26, 2024

Cooperatives Day in Thailand Cooperatives Day (Wan Sahakon) is an official observance in Thailand. Held every year on February 26 to commemorate the creation of Thailand’s first cooperative, it was officially established in 1967 at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand.

The first agricultural cooperatives in Thailand were created during the reign of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI). He was the first King of Siam to be educated in Europe, which inspired him to introduce European-style reforms. Although his reign was relatively short, lasting for 15 years, he initiated several reforms aimed at modernizing the country. One of these reforms was the creation of cooperatives.

According to Rama VI, the main goal of cooperatives was to increase the welfare of small farmers, which at the time was very low due to accumulated debts resulting from the transition from a self-sufficient economy to a market economy. The situation was exacerbated by the effects of droughts, floods and other natural disasters, which prevented peasants from paying off their debts. Many peasants lost their lands and had to earn for a living by day labor, and their debts remained unpaid.

The first agricultural cooperative was established by the government of Thailand on February 26, 1915 in Phitsanulok. Its main task was to issue loans to farmers who had significant debts in order to prevent the liquidation of their assets to pay off the creditors. It successfully coped with the task, and soon small agricultural cooperatives began to emerge throughout Thailand.

In the early 1950s, two cooperative banks were established in the provinces of Chiang Maiand Uttaradit; they provided banking services to agricultural cooperatives. Unfortunately, the 1962 Law “On Commercial Banks” prohibited cooperative banks to open deposit accounts for agricultural cooperatives, and new cooperative banks stopped opening.

In 1966, the Thai government established the State Cooperative Bank, co-owned by the state and credit cooperatives, which served as a financial center for agricultural cooperatives and at the same time could directly issue loans to individual farmers who didn’t want or couldn’t joint a cooperative.

Two years, the Law “On Cooperatives” was adopted in order to strengthen the cooperative movement. It provided for the establishment of the League of Cooperatives of Thailand, which became the central organization of the Thai cooperative movement. In addition, the government launched a new program that allowed small agricultural cooperatives from neighboring villages to merge into large cooperatives at the district level. A revised version of the law, which is still in force, was adopted in 1999.

In addition to agricultural cooperatives, Thailand has other types of cooperatives, such as thrift and credit cooperatives, consumer cooperatives, credit union cooperatives, service cooperatives, land settlement cooperatives, and fishery cooperatives.

The functioning of cooperatives is coordinated by Cooperative Promotion Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, founded in 1972. Its main task is to stimulate the development of cooperatives and help them adapt to the changing economic conditions.

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