Italian Center for Documentation on Cooperation and Social Economy | Virtual museum - Thailand

Virtual Museum
of cooperatives


With the passage in 1916 of amendments to the Associations Law acknowledging cooperatives, the appointment the same year of Prince Bidyalongkorn as the first registrar of cooperatives and the establishment of the first Raiffeisen-style agricultural credit cooperative in 1917, the cooperative movement in Thailand was effectively launched. Limited to credit cooperatives in its early years (there were 150 by 1931), it was not until 1932 that the movement began to diversify and its growth to accelerate. By 1940 there were 1,874 societies, 87 of which were noncredit. By 1944 there were 4,747, including 189 noncredit societies active in several sectors: 69 consumer societies, 44 colonization co operatives, 14 land purchase and improvement societies and 52 marketing groups. These have generally remained the sectoral activities of cooperatives in Thailand, supplemented by a small number of fishery cooperatives and a network of service cooperatives. The Cooperative League of Thailand was established in 1948 (reconstituted in 1968) and serves as the national apex cooperative organization. In 1972 the Cooperative Promotion Department was established as a way of unifying governmental services dealing with cooperatives. The ICA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific reported that in 1993 there were 3,744 Cooperatives with a combined membership of 5,843,961 (9.8% of the population) in the follow sectors: agriculture—2,071 societies with 3,397,098 members; consumer—351/687,078; fisheries—46/8,030; savings and credit—966/1,648,561; and services—310/103,194.

Jack Shaffer, Historical Dictionary of the Cooperative Movement, The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, Md., & London 1999

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