arduous rice-field work is year-long. In April or May,
farmers start planting seedlings in their well-ploughed
fields. By late November or early December, cooperative work
groups use sickles to harvest the crops. Cut rice is
threshed, and the paddy is then ready to be winnowed and
taken to market.
primary money earners in the late 1970s were the crops grown
on its rich land. Today agricultural products are produced
in such quantities that in many commodities the country
ranks as the world's number one supplier. Thus besides being
the world's foremost exporter of tapioca and rice, it is a
leader in the production of frozen shrimp, canned pineapple,
natural rubber and sugar. Moreover, Thailand's industrial
sector produces a wide number of goods ranging from textiles
including the famous Thai silk and ready-made garments to
integrated circuits, plastics, jewellery, footwear, knocked-down
furniture and fibre-glass yachts. In recent years in fact,
manufacturing has surpassed agricultural products in
Thailand's GNP, while tourism has replaced agricultural
products as Thailand's largest source of foreign exchange.
The country's rich reserves of minerals are eagerly sought
by the world's industries. In recent years, local factories
have been established to manufacture industrial goods from
the ores and thereby enhance their value.