The agricultural industries are naturally going to be affected by policies relating to inputs, and a key one of these is finance. Development of new agricultural industries has been slowed by the reluctance of financial institutions to lend to farmers without land collateral. According to the Sectoral Economics Program (1995), in 1994 less than 37 percent of non-forest land had land titles that are able to be collateralised. Despite this, the authors of the Sectoral Economics Program point out that farmers have not had problems in obtaining short-term working capital from financial institutions. Whether this situation persists in the medium to longer term in light of the difficulties that the Thai financial sector now faces is unclear.
In discussing the livestock production systems in Thailand, Noppakun (1998) explains that livestock raising is intensive in the commercial farms in the dairy, beef fattening, pig, broiler and layer industries. The commercial farms are large and have sufficient financial and managerial resources to exist independently of government support. The extensive farms on the other hand make little use of marketable inputs and produce a combination of food crops, livestock and poultry. On these farms, livestock production and poultry production are of secondary importance compared to the other farm activities. This aspect of the livestock sector means that it is difficult to gather detailed information on technical parameters of the industries. Commercial farms are reluctant to divulge this type of information for commercial reasons and the operators of the extensive farms usually do not have the information. Vertical integration is a feature of the Thai agricultural sector. Major firms include Saha Farms Co., Ltd and Charoen Pokphand.
Saha Farms began operations in 1969 with a weekly production of 500 chickens. By 1974, it had begun exporting frozen poultry to Japan. Continued growth has seen it transformed into a fully integrated chicken meat production business with three feedmills capable of producing 350 000 to 500 000 t. of chicken feed per year and a grandparent and parent stock operation producing between 73 million and 109 million day old chicks. Saha Farms has between 3 000 and 5 000 contract growers producing broilers that are processed in Saha Farms' two processing plants. There are approximately 10 000 employees on the firms payroll.
Charoen Pokphand (CP) began as a small seed shop in Bangkoks Chinatown in 1940 operated by two brothers who had migrated with their father to Thailand in the 1920s. In the 1940s, the firm began to import animal feed and fertilizer. By 1954, Charoen Pokphand had launched its own feedmill business. By the 1970s, the company had a virtual monopoly on the supply of chickens and eggs (Phongpaichit and Baker 1996, p11). Over the next 20 years, CPs expansion continued and it became active in poultry, pig raising, feed mills, aquaculture, telecommunications, petroleum, retailing and a number of other industries. It has branches throughout Asia (including China), the Middle East, Europe, North and South America and South Africa.