In northern Thailand, tea is in the food culture for a long time, commonly known as ‘Miang’. This means fermented tea leaves by bringing the local tea found in many highland-forest of northern Thailand as a part of local food. However, fermented tea leave-making as local food is not as popular as in the past. In Chiang Rai Province, local communities transformed their tea gardens to produce tea as a beverage. Many large tea gardens gained incentive incomes from the trend of tea drinking in Thailand. Nowadays, Chiang Rai has the largest tea plantation area in Thailand, covering approximately 13,600 hectares, becoming a large-scale tea industry cultivation. Therefore, Chiang Rai Province has been selected as the case study to examine the relations of gender roles and ethnic identities in the tea production of both small-scale and large-scale industries in Thailand. The study aims at exploring worker management and working models of tea enterprises in reducing conflict issues by gender and different ethnic groups. Qualitative research methods by observation technique and key informant interview were applied in data collection. Twelve female workers from four tea enterprises are selected for in-depth interviews, The study found that women become the main workforce in the tea garden and many ethnic groups in Chiang Rai play significant roles in tea production processes.
Siya Uthai, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
About the Presenter(s)
Dr.Siya Uthai is an assistant professor at the Department of Social Science and Development, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Her specialization are food security, development, social movement and women issues.
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