This article traces Thailand’s economic development policies in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, with a specific focus on agricultural development since the resurgence of ethnic conflict in the Far South in 2004. It discusses how successive Thai governments have attempted to use economic development to win the “hearts and minds” of the region’s Malay-Muslim population. As the agricultural sector provides the main source of income for more than 50 per cent of the Far South’s population, this articles offers a closer look at the interaction between agricultural policy, income distribution and the ongoing conflict. It highlights the impact of the government’s agricultural policy and the violent unrest on the region’s economic development between 2004 and 2020. It discusses the manner in which the three Far South provinces have slipped into poverty and the impact this has had on the separatist insurgency. Due to weak economic development and little prospect of a political solution to the ethnic conflict, this article concludes that prospects for peace and prosperity in the Far South remain bleak.


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pp. 90-124
Launched on MUSE
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