Fellow Since 1992
National Social, Economic, and Environment Development Department
This profile was prepared when Promchote Traiwate was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
As the Thai economy grows year after year at record rates, and as the country urbanizes rapidly, small rural producers need to develop new marketing channels which will allow them to reach potential urban consumers directly. Promachote has worked out several new strategies which will provide the producers with much wider profit margins than if they sold through middlemen. The producers will also have more direct contact with their market, which will allow them to develop their product to fit the ever changing needs and tastes of their consumers.Promachote's first breakthrough was with one of the major department stores in Bangkok. The department store provides the space for either a weekly or a monthly market while the village production groups pay all the expenses and undertake the management. The first village in its first year earned 100,000 Bhat. That grew to 500,000 Bhat ($20,000) profit in the second and subsequent years. These sorts of solid, substantial profits in turn help the villages improve and strengthen their products, production methods, and family incomes. Promachote is now launching another experiment using university campuses as the site for small village producer markets. He expects that these campus markets may help contribute modestly to reducing the gap between university students and the country's villagers.Although this new marketing channel is the most important single element helping Promachote change the life of small rural producers, his dream is much broader--he hopes to help them "stand on their own feet in terms of production, financing, and marketing." By helping the small producer groups obtain direct access to both raw material supplies and customers, he is eliminating the middleman.