Highland areas in Thailand suffer from deforestation due to overproduction of maize and more ecologically favorable crops such as coffee are an attractive alternative. Beyond the obvious option to export coffee, policy schemes are being enacted to promote local production for local consumption. Rural development literature has long-lauded policies and strategies to add value to agricultural products by valorizing place and emphasizing socio-cultural or ecological elements unique to a certain region. A domestic boom in coffee consumption and shifting cultural values toward the practice of coffee drinking has put farmers in a position to benefit by cashing in on “local coffee” and improving environmental conditions. This research examines the strategy of valorizing the “localness” of food products and the process of embedding introduced foods in a developing country context. Combining fieldwork and survey data from a choice experiment to examine changing consumer culture and preferences, we show how the “localness” of an everyday drink is perceived and embedded in very different and unexpected ways by residents and tourists in Nan Province. While tourists acknowledge and value coffee from Nan, Nan residents would rather pay less for coffee made with local beans, which has implications for the economic viability of a local production for local consumption strategy and potential repercussions for regional environmental health. Careful consideration is needed to co-evolve new markets and new social practices when valorizing introduced products as local to a place.
|Number of pages||24|
|Journal||Environment, Development and Sustainability|
|Early online date||16 Apr 2021|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2021|