By THE NATION
The project, which started in 2009 in the province, aims to eradicate poverty and develop local areas under the deceased King’s wise sufficiency economy concept.
Government agencies have coordinated with the private sector to carry out the project in Nan’s Tha Wang Pha, Song Khwae and Chaloem Phrakiat districts, covering more than 250,000 rai or 20 villages.
“The people in poverty stricken areas now have a better life after applying the royal initiative concept, especially the sufficiency economy one, which has helped them increase their incomes,” institute adviser Chartchai Na Chiangmai said. “We also suggested to them to grow alternative plants, and have promoted the unity of local people to improve their community management and self-reliance.”
The operation in the past ten years has developed according to the three-step theory – the improvement of domestic livelihoods, the promotion and manufacturing of local products, and support for connecting local communities to external markets.
“For better domestic livelihoods, we expanded the water supply system, increasing the water receiving area from 2012 to 11,620 rai,” explained Chartchai. “This has helped enlarge farmers’ production volume, now worth Bt739 million in value.”
Promoting the manufacture of local products has also helped communities reduce their productivity costs while increasing production output to meet market demand.
“Moreover, we have introduced local farmers to knowledge, technology and innovation, helping them achieve agricultural standard certification and penetrate new markets,” Chartchai said.
Various projects in the prototype areas have raised the average household earning to Bt150,115 per household per year – a sum higher than the farmers’ average income in other areas of Nan. The average debt of those in the model areas is also lower than the average in other areas.
“In these past ten years, Nan has become like a social lab witnessing successful development as a result of coordination between local communities and external agencies,” Chartchai said.
“The future of Nan’s development is to promote the area as a model-based approach, creating case studies for nearby provinces to follow and adapt,” he added.