By The Nation
Staff at the park, known for its campgrounds amid beautiful mountain scenery, worked with a team from Chulalongkorn University and had the support of Thailand Science Research and Innovation to plan the project and recruit craftspeople in Ban Wana Phrai, Ban Nongphum and Ban Nam Pi to make the utensils.
Sections of bamboo trunks were used along with bamboo sheath and leaves of the banana and pluang trees, fashioning rustic items that visitors can use instead of plasticware.
Associate Professor Dr Khemarat Talerngsri, the project leader, said bamboo sheath and pluang leaves are run through specially developed forming machines to ensure good quality and reduce production costs.
“The people of Ban Wana Phrai can produce about 200 bamboo-sheath bowls a day at an average cost of Bt2 each,” she said. “But the capacity isn’t yet enough to meet visitor demand and the cost is still twice what you pay in the market.”
Khemarat said a secondary aim of the project is to get neighbouring farmers more involved in managing natural resources both in their communities and in the park.
“The communities around the national park have abundant resources of their own to preserve, while the park will open up additional careers for them.”