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The Royal Project Gains Greater International Recognition

October 8, 2013 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

Various products under the Royal Project have gained greater international recognition. Thailand’s Offices of Agricultural Affairs overseas have played an active role in helping expand foreign markets for products from the Royal Project.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Royal Project earned more than 300 million baht from its exports in 2012.

An initiative of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Royal Project came into being in 1969 to help develop highlands in northern Thailand on a 1327691601psustainable basis. During his stay at Bhuphing Palace in Chiang Mai province, His Majesty visited and talked to hilltribe villagers, who told him about their sources of income. They said that the income from the growing of opium and peaches was about the same. At that time, tribal people living in the highlands had become a problem to the Government, partly because of their destructive slash-and-burn technique of clearing land, as well as their traditional cultivation of opium poppies.

His Majesty intended to help hilltribe people grow useful crops that would give a higher income than growing opium, so that they would switch from opium cultivation to other crops. This would also support the Government’s policy of banning opium cultivation and trade. He pointed out that the traditional farming method of cutting down and burning the forest conducted by hilltribe villagers would lead to forest destruction and deterioration of soil quality. That was how the Royal Project was launched, and His Serene Highness Prince Bhisatej Rajani, who currently serves as Chairman of the Royal Project Foundation, was assigned by His Majesty to carry out his initiative for the establishment of the project.

The Royal Project was registered as a foundation in 1992 and involves the growing of a wide variety of cash crops, especially temperate-zone plants. It was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding in 1988. In the same year, it also received the Thai Export Award 1988 for its outstanding activities to promote Thai exports of fresh vegetables and fruit and canned fruit. The Royal Project won an award from the Drug Advisory Program of the Colombo Plan in Sri Lanka in December 2003, when it was cited as a scheme to successfully eradicate opium poppy cultivation through positive measures.

Products from the Royal Project also enjoy international exposure on routes flown by Thai Airways International, which is one of the Royal Project Foundation’s largest customers. The national airline brings high-quality products to the attention of its domestic and international passengers.

There are currently 38 development centers under the Royal Project in northern provinces to help farmers collect, distribute, and sell highland produce, while improving their quality of life through education, health care, and environmental preservation. The practice of organic farming has been introduced in these centers, which have become popular tourist attractions for nature lovers and eco-tourists, as well.

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