UN/Thai programme for drug abuse control in Thailand financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control


UN/Thai programme for drug abuse control in Thailand financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control


Crop replacement and community development sector Project work plan
Office accommodation, personnel and equipment
Training courses
Produce marketing revolving Fund
Key and satellite villages
Chang Khian Highland agricultural extension training centre and field crop development station
Doi Pui temperate fruit and nut experimental station
Ang Khan Highland development station
Special crops and activities
Other related activities
Evaluation of progress on the crop replacement and community development project, September 1972-June 1973
Addict treatment and rehabilitation sector
Narcotics information and education sector
Law enforcement sector


Pages: 43 to 65
Creation Date: 1974/01/01

UN/Thai programme for drug abuse control in Thailand financed by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control

Excerpts from Progress Report No. 1 submitted by the Division of Narcotic Drugs for the period September 1972-June 1973




Crop replacement and community development sector (Chiang Mai office)
Project work plan
Office accommodation, personnel and equipment
Training courses
Produce marketing revolving Fund
Key and satellite villages
Chang Khian Highland agricultural extension training
centre and field crop development station
Doi Pui temperate fruit and nut experimental station
Ang Khan Highland development station
Special crops and activities
Other related activities
Evaluation of progress on the crop replacement and
community development project
Addict treatment and rehabilitation sector
Narcotics information and education sector
Law enforcement sector


Thailand's Opium Cultivators

The opium farmers living in the northern mountainous areas cultivate the opium poppy as a cash crop out of economic necessity. In a 1965-66 census, the total hill tribe population, living above 600 metres, was estimated to be over 275,000. Some are of Chinese, others of Tibeto-Burman origin. The main groups are Meo, Yao, Lahu, Lisu, Akha, Karen and Haw. Not all the hill tribes produce opium and, at the time of the census, it was believed that about 200,000 were so engaged. Production was estimated at 150 tons annually.1

The Illicit Traffic

After the adoption of the Opium Act of 1959 banning the sale and smoking of opium, the Government was faced not only with a considerable loss of revenue from the closing of the Opium Monopoly, but with the consequences of a change of habit among opium smokers who began to use in preference morphine and heroin, these substances being easier to conceal when transported and more difficult to detect on consumption. Furthermore, the situation has been complicated by the production of opium in Laos and the Shan States of Burma, both sources of the illicit traffic which passes through Thailand to join the international network.


It has not yet been possible to provide adequate medical and health services in the hill tribe areas and, as a result, the opium farmers and their neighbours have been obliged to use opium as an analgesic in sickness. It is also a social habit. Addiction among the tribes has been variously estimated up to a figure of 10 per cent of the population. It is generally believed that the incidence and prevalence of narcotics addiction among the urban populations is relatively high. At the end of 1959, before the ban was introduced, there were nearly 71,000 registered opium smokers.

Treatment is provided at Thanyarak Government Hospital and at some Police and Army hospitals near Bangkok, as well as in certain provincial general hospitals.

Action by the Government

For many years the Government of Thailand has waged a campaign against both the illicit traffic and drug addiction. But, owing to the complexity of the problem, it decided in 1961 to conduct a socio-economic survey in the north with a view to the gradual settlement of the nomadic hill tribes and the diversification of their agriculture. The economy of these hill people has been based mainly on opium which has contributed considerably to the illicit traffic.

The United Nations participated in the above-mentioned survey and was invited in 1967 and again in 1970, in conformity with General Assembly resolution 2434 (XXIII), to draw up recommendations in collaboration with the Thai authorities for the progressive replacement of opium cultivation by alternative agricultural activities in order to provide a higher standard of living for the opium farmers. [ 2] The United Nations missions, with their Thai colleagues, covered the whole field of narcotic drugs control and, in 1970, a comprehensive programme was drawn up which led to the signing, following the establishment of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, of an agreement with the Government on 7 December 1971. Its implementation was subject to the formulation of satisfactory work plans for individual sectors of the programme.

The King's Project

His Majesty the King has personally initiated and financed projects of economic assistance to the hill tribes. These projects include field trials and agricultural extension work in villages where the opium poppy has been a subsistence cash crop for generations. The King's activities are now being complemented by the joint Thai Government-United Nations Programme for Drug Abuse Control, of which an important feature is the progressive replacement of opium cultivation and the socio-economic development of village communities in certain "key" or pilot villages and neighbouring "satellite" villages. Many government departments and two universities are participating in this venture.

The UN/Thai Programme

The Programme for Drug Abuse Control is administered by the United Nations Division of Narcotic Drugs, Geneva, as executing agency, through a Programme Director, stationed in Bangkok, and his Thai counterpart.

Project implementation under the Programme in regard to Crop Replacement and Community Development is guided by the advice of the Food and Agriculture Organization through a senior consultant from Headquarters in Rome and in close collaboration with the Thai and United Nations appointed Project co-Managers and the Thai Project Director.

The World Health Organization, assisted by the International Labour Office, serves as Associated Agency for the Addict Treatment and Rehabilitation project in collaboration with the Thai and WHO appointed Co-Managers, while the Drugs Information and Education Project will be assisted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in collaboration with Thai and UN Project representatives.

Bilateral assistance is being given to the Government in connexion with new measures for strengthening operations against the illicit traffic. The Programme Directors maintain close liaison with both government and bilateral representatives in the law enforcement field.

Headquarters of Programme for Drug Abuse Control, Bangkok

The office provided by the Government was occupied on 11 May 1972, the local staff recruited and trained and the necessary office equipment purchased. United Nations administrative and financial procedures were established with the assistance of the Office of the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE).

All sectoral activities under the Programme are co-ordinated at Programme Headquarters in Bangkok through the Thai and the United Nations Programme co-Directors. The Bangkok office also has close contact with the representative of His Majesty the King's Project of Assistance to the Hill Tribes and with the Thai Government. The government agency responsible for ensuring this liaison is the Central Bureau of Narcotics which has established a Sub-Committee representative of all interested government agencies. The Chairman of this Inter-Ministerial Sub-Committee is Khun Chitr Posayanonda, who is also Thai co-Director of the Programme.

Crop replacement and community development sector Project work plan

Appreciation is expressed for the help received from the Offices of the Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, the Resident Representative of UNDP, the Senior Agricultural Adviser and FAO Country Representative, the Deans of the Faculties of Agriculture of Kasetsart and Chiengmai Universities and many other authorities for their efforts to ensure that the Work Plan would be as comprehensive as possible.

The final version of the Work Plan was signed on 1 September 1972. It reflects the views of the interested government departments and has also taken into account the needs of His Majesty's Project for the Hill Tribes, with which the joint United Nations/Thai Crop Replacement and Community Development Project will be closely associated.

A special meeting of the Sub-Committee for the joint United Nations/Thai Programme for Drug Abuse Control introduced an amendment to the Work Plan in respect of staff of the Chiang Mai Office and, at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, a few changes were also made.

Office accommodation, personnel and equipment

These Headquarters were leased by the United Nations with effect from 13 November 1972. Some reconstruction was necessary as well as rehabilitation of the compound and filling and draining adjoining land. A store and garage were built at the expense of the owner to house vehicles, equipment, seed and other agricultural inputs destined for the Project. A drive was constructed to facilitate access to the store and garage. Furniture and equipment were produced for the office. The vehicles provided under the Work Plan were ordered. Pending delivery, USOM generously loaned the Project two jeeps and a 5-ton lorry for which accident insurance was taken out.

The United Nations and Thai Project co-Managers assumed duty on 12 September 1972 and recruited a secretary, an accountant, a finance clerk, a cleaning woman and three drivers. In-service training, particularly in financial administration, was given by the staff of ECAFE and the Internal Audit Division of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Project senior staff comprised the UN Project Manager and his Thai counterpart assisted by a Thai agro-sociologist and the Thai Manager of the Chang Khian Station.

Members of the Departments of Agriculture, Chiengmai and Kasetsart Universities, experts of the Ministries of Agriculture and Social Welfare and FAO experts gave valuable advice throughout.

Headquarters of the Crop Replacement and Community Development Project, Chiang Mai.

Full size image: 56 kB, Headquarters of the Crop Replacement and Community Development Project, Chiang Mai.

In January 1973, the Senior Adviser to the Director-General of FAO, visited the Project and advised on its future development. From 26 March to 7 June, on FAO recommendation, a soils and water conservation expert worked as a consultant to the Project.

On 1 May 1973, Mr. Alan Roth, UN consultant, started a six months' assignment as a socio-economist.

Two UN volunteers, a veterinarian and a male nurse were recommended to the Thai authorities on 22 May 1973, and await their formal approval.

Training courses

A training course for key village extension teams was held from 2 to 22 February. The course covered livestock management, horse maintenance and riding, field and vegetable crop production, temperate fruit crops, soils and water conservation, sanitation, prevention and treatment of disease.

The livestock course, of six days, was held in association with the Thai-German Dairy in Chiang Mai. In their evaluation of the course, the extension agents thought that information on artificial insemination should have been included and that the course might have been longer and included more field work.

As the extension teams may find it advantageous to ride horses or mules in addition to using them as pack animals as they travel to the villages, they were in the framework of this course, given two weeks' training at the Mae Rim Army Remount Station to learn horse and mule riding and animal care and maintenance.

For one week, they attended a field crop production course at Mae Jo Agricultural Experimental Station covering soya bean, potato, kale, cabbage, long bean (tua yaaw) and Chinese cabbage. Insect and pest control and vegetable seed production were also studied.

Two days were spent at Doi Pui studying temperate fruit crops, particularly the grafting and pruning of fruit trees. On the last day, team members participated in a short course on soils, which stressed soil samples' collection techniques. The one-day course was given at Chiengmai University by Dean Boonyawart Lumpaopong, Head of the Soils Department.

It was possible to arrange a first short course of one week for hill tribesmen in livestock management on 24 January at the Thai-German Dairy Farm at Chiang Mai. The course was attended by fourteen villagers from Mae Tho, Khun Klang, Khun Wang, Ban Pui, Doi Sam Mun and Chang Khian.

The trainees were especially interested in livestock care, sanitation and the prevention and treatment of disease and six tribesmen voluntarily stayed for a second week.

In the Project's evaluation of the course, it was found that the best way to train the hill tribes was to explain each subject, proceed with practical field work and then invite questions - a well-established method of education.

The course illustrated that the hill people were interested and anxious to be trained. They especially requested a further course on veterinary practice, including the distribution of medicines and the regular vaccination of livestock and poultry.

With the help of the Agricultural Produce Revolving Fund, Project staff assist hill-tribe farmers in the marketing of their produce at the Chiang Mai office.

Full size image: 56 kB, With the help of the Agricultural Produce Revolving Fund, Project staff assist hill-tribe farmers in the marketing of their produce at the Chiang Mai office.

Produce marketing revolving Fund

This Fund was established to enable the UN Project Manager to assist hill-tribe farmers with cash advances for produce awaiting sale. The first crop for which the Fund was used was kidney beans.

Prior to his appointment by the United Nations, the Project Manager had introduced kidney beans to the hill-tribe area as a useful food and a possible opium replacement crop. After a few years' experimentation on a limited scale, the cultivation of kidney beans was accepted by many hill-tribe villages. It was therefore decided to include this crop in the opium replacement scheme provided that a market could be found at an acceptable price.

Independently of the Project, considerable quantities of imported kidney bean seeds were distributed to hill tribesmen under the auspices of His Majesty the King's Project as an opium replacement crop, with the assurance that the farmers would receive a fair price per kilo for any quantity they might wish to sell.

From the beginning of February until the end of June, the villagers delivered 42.6 tons of beans to the Project Office. In order to encourage the tribesmen in this first venture with an opium replacement crop, the Project Manager, with the concurrence of the Programme Director and Geneva Headquarters, paid the producers 4.5 bath [ 3] per kilo and assumed temporary charge of the crop until it could be sold. Costs were debited to the Revolving Fund.

By the end of June, 20 tons of kidney beans had been transferred at the request of the representative of the King's Project to the Warehouse Organization of Thailand in Bangkok and 20 tons to the canning plant at the Institute of Food Research and Produce Development, Kasetsart University.

Key and satellite villages

Their selection and location

The first priority for pilot agricultural extension and community development was the selection of key and satellite villages as a focal point of activity. To ensure the best possible choice of sites a wide range of villages was visited between September and December 1972. This was a time-consuming and difficult task. The villages were not readily accessible, many were reached only after long journeys on foot and others had to be visited by helicopter.

By the end of the year, five key villages and most of their satellite villages had been chosen and confirmed by the Sub-Committee. Subsequent events, however, hampered early extension work as one key village was found to be within a prohibited military area and had to be withdrawn. The substitution of a new village caused some delay in starting work.

The villages selected are all in the northern part of Thailand. Three of the key villages lie west-southwest of the provincial capital, Chiang Mai, one of Thailand's major cities, at distances of 95 to 145 km, the fourth is 130 km northwest of Chiang Mai and the fifth, 180 km north, is adjacent to the Thai-Burmese border. The least accessible, Doi Sam Mun, requires a two to three hour drive, mostly by dirt road which is only suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles, followed by a two day walk of 30 km. The most accessible, Khun Wang, still takes the best part of a day to reach: 3 hours by vehicle followed by three and a half to five hours' walking, depending on the season.

Location of the five key villages and the Chang Khian training and development station

Full size image: 46 kB, Location of the five key villages and the Chang Khian training and development station

Of the villages selected, the largest has 532 people in 63 households; the smallest, 49 people in 10 households. In all, the Project will reach some 487 households with 3,423 inhabitants. The villages ensure contact with all the opium-growing tribes in northern Thailand except the Yao, specifically both Blue and White Meo, Lisu, Lahu and Karen, and one a Haw (Yunnanese) village.

Agricultural extension

In each of the key villages an extension team was posted composed of a university graduate, two agricultural college graduates as assistants, and three extension workers.

Through the work of these extension teams, the Project seeks to promote the production, on a sound commercial basis, of the crops which the tribes already grow.

UN/Thai programme for drug abuse control in Thailand 51

Among these are potato, varieties of bean, including kidney and castor, chilis, corn, sesame, vegetables and fruit trees such as peach and lychee. It is also the intention to test and introduce new crops. The teams started work with the hill people on field trials of coffee, tea, soya beans, tobacco and temperate zone fruits, such as apples and nuts.

The full scope of these extension activities will comprise highland field and vegetable crop production, highland fruit and nut cultivation, special high value crops, apiculture and sericulture, livestock, poultry and fisheries, as well as forestry and watershed management, all supported by applied research. These activities will be followed by the development of cottage industries and other profitable skills. Much of the work is in co-operation with, or provides support to, previously established Thai and bilateral programmes.

Trials have already been conducted for some time at Doi Pui Temperate Fruit and Nut Experimental Station by Kasetsart University under the King's Project on fruit and nuts and special high value crops, such as tea, coffee and essential oils.

Livestock and poultry improvement

Animal breeding, feeding and disease control are at a particularly low level in the highland villages. Investigation and solution of these problems is therefore to be taken up systematically in close co-operation with the relevant Thai authorities and, particularly, with the Thai-German Dairy Farm which possesses considerable experience in the field of animal husbandry in the hill-tribe areas. Both selection and cross-breeding of suitable livestock will be carried out. Pasture improvement and range land management will be introduced and the production of feed concentrates, based on improved crop rotation, will be a further development. During the period under review, 200 selected local ewes were introduced to the Ang Khan Highland Development Station for cross-breeding with imported rams. The resulting lambs will be distributed for strengthening the stock of the villages. Some tribesmen have received instruction in animal care and the key village extension teams have been fully briefed on its importance. The health of the poultry found in the villages leaves much to be desired and consultations were conducted in Geneva early in 1973 on the feasibility of introducing special techniques for poultry raising. In order to upgrade and develop livestock for domestic consumption and sale, veterinary programmes emphasize improved breeding and the introduction of grass-eating poultry (geese and turkeys). The Chiang Mai Livestock Breeding Station (Thai-German Dairy Farm) is assisting this sector of the Project

In February 1973 the Programme purchased 200 ewes for Ang Khan Station. After cross-breeding with selected rams, lambs are distributed to the Project villages.

Full size image: 84 kB, In February 1973 the Programme purchased 200 ewes for Ang Khan Station. After cross-breeding with selected rams, lambs are distributed to the Project villages.

The appointment of a United Nations volunteer veterinarian whose primary task would be to bring chicken and pig disease under control in the villages, awaits Government approval.

Apiculture and Sericulture

Plans were made to popularize apiculture by providing three beehives to each village, trials being handled by the extension teams. Work was also started on developing sericulture with the collaboration of the previously established Japanese Sericulture Project. It is expected that mulberry trees can be introduced to key villages during the first two years of the Project. Extension activities will be supported by the Chang Khian Highland Agricultural Development and Training Section as described below.

Agricultural trials

Operations in the key and satellite villages complement those being carried out at Chang Khian. The extension teams are introducing and supervising various plots of field crops to test their suitability for the prevailing soil and climatic conditions. The teams encourage the farmers to plant both selected seeds of crops known to them and new types for possible use on a wider scale. The farmers are assured that the new crops resulting from these trials will find a market and, in case of failure, their labour will be compensated.

Preliminary reports on key and satellite villages are to be found in the table on page 65.

Chang Khian Highland agricultural extension training centre and field crop development station

Objectives of the station and description of site

The station is designed to provide long-term training for hill tribesmen who will become village extension workers in the areas where opium cultivation is to be replaced. It is also undertaking field and vegetable crop trials to judge their potential for hill cultivation and it experiments with crops for both wet and dry season farming. The Station endeavours to find suitable replacement cash crops for the opium poppy, improve varieties of food crops for the villagers and their animals and generally improve methods of cultivation. It provides advice and assistance to the hill tribe people. The main site of the Project's research and training centre is 32 km northwest of Chiang Mai on Doi Pui Mountain in a national park near the King's Palace. The site is reached by 29 km of paved road from Chiang Mai followed by 8 km of dirt suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles

Chang Khian village: Water is one of the most pressing needs of all villages in the area. Under the guidance of Project staff, villagers are installing new water systems, providing their own labour and contributing a good proportion of the cost of materials. This village was the first to introduce a new system which meets their everyday domestic needs and irrigates some of their fields.

Full size image: 105 kB, Chang Khian village: Water is one of the most pressing needs of all villages in the area

Formerly occupied and cropped, predominantly in poppy, by the Meo villagers of Ban Chang Khian, the land was abandoned in 1972. At an altitude of 920 m to 1,220 m, it has slopes of from O° to 35°.The site comprises two locations - a large main area on the southeast side of Doi Pui with very steep slopes and a smaller area on the northwest side, with very gentle slopes. The two locations are connected by a new dirt road, built for the Project, which joins the road leading from Chang Khian Station to the new village location of Ban Chang Khian, two kilometres away.

The larger, south-eastern site, receives year-round water from three tributaries of the Mae Huai Chang Khian river. In a very steep, cleared valley, with soils of granitic origin susceptible to erosion, the site has two ridges well-suited for the station's buildings. The opposite side of the road provides a good location for the station manager and consultant's house now under construction.

The land surrounding the station buildings, 262 rai, is being used for experimental, irrigated cultivation of crops and trees suitable for steep slopes.

The smaller, north-western site receives very little water and will require a catchment system for its domestic needs. Quite level in slope, this area is well-suited to dryland experimental and demonstration farming.

The Chang Khian area has three seasons, [ 4] a hot season from March to May, a rainy season from May to October and a cool season from October to March. Temperatures reach their highest usually in April (maximum recorded in a six-year period was 95.5°F in April). Temperatures in May to October range between 63°and 75°F. January is the coldest month (the lowest temperature recorded in a six-year period was 44°F). The annual average is 69°F.

The area receives an average rainfall of 2,122 mm with a range of 155.7 mm to 2,412 mm. The highest and most intense rainfall comes in August and September. Relative humidity ranges from 59 to 73 per cent in the hot season, over 90 to 100 per cent during the rainy season and between 78 and 90 per cent during the cool season.

Setting-up the station

In April 1973, the Government authorized the use of the site. Prior to this, preparatory work had been undertaken, a contractor selected, and small indemnities paid to the Chang Khian villagers for land improvement and for trees which they had planted on the site.

In late April, the contractor began work at the main site on five buildings for hill tribe trainees and a dining hall. He had been encouraged to transport much of the building materials to the site before rains made the road impassable for heavy vehicles. By June, the outer structure, including the roofs of all six buildings, was up and the construction of walls and interiors was well underway. A temporary building was erected for project personnel working at the site.

UN/Thai programme for drug abuse control in Thailand 55


Chang Khian Training Station site: Clearing tree stumps for the construction of quarters for hill-tribe villagers. AFTER:

Full size image: 65 kB, Chang Khian Training Station site: Clearing tree stumps for the construction of quarters for hill-tribe villagers. AFTER:

Completed dwellings for hill tribesmen to be trained at the Station. Remarkable efforts were made in soil conservation during the construction of the station: the steep slopes beneath the dwellings were terraced, planted with coffee bushes and protected from erosion by layers of straw.

Full size image: 45 kB, Completed dwellings for hill tribesmen to be trained at the Station

Land clearing began in May. Before the month's end an area for an experimental fish pond had been levelled, much of the land cleared and terracing in front of the trainees' living quarters completed and planted in coffee.

In the sector of soils conservation and watershed management, a basic soils map was prepared and samples sent for analysis. Water measurements and quality analyses were completed and a land use and conservation plan drawn up. A topographical map is now being drawn up. Equipment was ordered through the World Meteorological Organization for an agro-meteorological station to be set up at Chang Khian Station with the assistance of the Thai Meteorological Department.


The first long training course for hill tribesmen will begin in September with thirty students. Much of their ten-month instruction will involve agricultural work at the Station.

The construction of the Station's classroom and office-cum-nursery should be completed during this period.

Further trials of vegetables will be conducted as well as new plantings under the Chiengmai University Rice Trials Programme.

Vegetable and field crop trials

Random trials of 125 varieties of sixteen vegetable crops were begun on non-irrigated land at Chang Khian during May and June. These trials to ascertain possibilities for highland rainy season cultivation include: sesame (11 varieties in 240 m 2), asparagus bean (7, in 48 m 2), Pai-tsai (3, 60 m 2), Chinese cabbage (4, 48 m 2), Chinese kale (2, 40m 2), radish (7, 86m 2), spinach (4, 48 m 2), water convolvulus (5, 48 m 2), cucumber (24, 90m 2), hyacinth bean (3, 22.5 m 2), green pea (14 varieties) and sweetpea (6 varieties) in 150 m2,25 varieties of tomato, 7 of eggplant and 2 of lettuce, and 1,000 m 2of baby corn for seed reproduction.

The next trials already scheduled for non-irrigated fields at Chan Khian Station will be cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, okra, yam bean, sweet pepper, sweet corn, oriental pickling melon, muck melon, watermelon (including seedless watermelon), potato, day lily, chiao-pai sun, Chinese yam, ginger, edible cassava, azuki bean and others if plant material can be made available in time.

Rice trials

Under the direction of Dr. Sumin Smutkupt of Chiengmai University, 503 varieties of upland rice were tested for use in the hill areas of northern Thailand.

Planted at the University Faculty's fields were: 139 varieties supplied by Chiengmai University; 140 from Kasetsart University; 15 from the Thai Rice Department; 8 from the Seed Multiplication Centre in Khon Kaen (north-eastern Thailand); and 201 from the Thai Land Development Department. 80 varieties were graded as good, 84 as fair and 287 as fair to poor.


Chang Khian Station dryland farming site: this nearby valley, while still under poppy cultivation, was opened in March 1973 by a new road connecting it with the Station.

Full size image: 69 kB, Chang Khian Station dryland farming site: this nearby valley, while still under poppy cultivation, was opened in March 1973 by a new road connecting it with the Station.


On the same site in June, sesame and vegetable trials were already well advanced

Full size image: 53 kB, On the same site in June, sesame and vegetable trials were already well advanced

Under the supervision of Dr. Damrong Tiyawari of the Faculty of Agriculture, Chiengmai University and Mr. Witoon Khunthicula, Rice Experimental Station, random variety trials were started at three key villages - Doi Sam Mun, Ban Mae Tho and Ban Khum - on 47 varieties selected from the Chiengmai University trials. Included in the varieties are local and imported (introduced) strains. These villages are located above 1,000 metres in opium-producing areas and it is expected that promising varieties suitable for high elevation production will be selected for further testing under full field conditions in 1974. The extension teams in these villages are providing on-the-spot management.

Three to four selected varieties of rice from the 47 mentioned have been given to interested tribesmen cultivators (one kilo per grower) in all key villages for planting in their own fields. The fields will be measured by the extension teams to provide a comparison of yields.

Provision has been made to test the possibility of growing high value crops and preliminary studies were started at the Station.

Doi Pui temperate fruit and nut experimental station

This project financially supports two Thai fruit and nut experimental centres known collectively as Doi Pui Station. Certain fruit, such as peaches, pears, strawberries, apples and nuts, though expensive, are popular in Thailand. Experiments were started at the two stations to ascertain which of these and other fruit can be grown in the highlands to provide income and help reduce shifting cultivation. Research also began on the feasibility of using readily available fertilizer, compost and other organic material and on techniques of fast reproduction of plant material.

All trials and research are in close co-operation with Kasetsart and Chiengmai Universities, FAO Headquarters, FAO field experts, bilateral projects in the area and the UNDP/FAO-supported fruit and nut development project of the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. Doi Pui Station has two sections.

Suan Song Saen

This land was given to Kasetsart University by His Majesty the King. It is situated at 1,200 m. About 100 rais of a total area of approximately 200 rais were already planted with mature lychee trees. The remaining land has recently been used for experimental plots of coffee and young fruit trees. It is the intention to carry out seed tests and plant production for propagation purposes. Much of the plant material tested comes from bilateral donors.

Coffee experiments conducted at Suan Song Sean in recent months appear to have suffered heavily from disease and pests. Trials have begun with seed from Kenya and New Guinea and other varieties are expected from Brazil. Soil and leaf samples are being analysed to determine the cause of disease.

A coffee expert has expressed the view that if the new Arabica varieties, which are resistant to disease, mainly rust, were introduced with new methods of cultivation, coffee could have a good future in the hills as a cash crop. Coffee grown experimentally in the past has primarily been of the Robusta type. Additional trials of Arabica plants are planned. A fellowship for a Thai Expert in coffee production and processing is being arranged by FAO.

The lychee trees, which appeared to be in good condition, show surprisingly low yields. With an average harvest, fruit fly damage accounts for losses of sometimes up to 80 per cent. Interest has been expressed in control research. It appears, however, that a fruit fly eradication programme would have to be regional in scope as this plague is common to the area. Project personnel have drawn the attention of the local authorities to the existing sterile male fruit fly control approach of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. Its co-operation has been suggested and IAEA documentation was requested.

Buak Ha

This sub-station, located near Suan Song Saen, is the headquarters of Kasetsart University's project for fruit trials. For the first two years, the United Nations will contribute $9,640 to development. Final plans have not yet been drawn up, but it is expected that the facilities needed for fruit and nut development will be provided on this site.

At present, one university and two agricultural college graduates and four labourers are provided under the Project. With this additional manpower, the station is developing as a collection and quarantine centre for seed, seedlings and other planting material of Thai origin or from abroad.

It is hoped that Kasetsart University will be given funds to meet the cost of necessary laboratory equipment from sources outside the Project.

Ang Khan Highland development station

This station, which is administered under His Majesty's Project of Assistance to the Hill Tribes, aims to demonstrate the commercial viability of certain field crops and fruit and livestock production. It receives financial support under the United Nations Project.

There is a demonstration orchard of 1,500 apple trees, which are expected to crop in 1973, and a large number of seedlings of wild apple are to be used as rootstock for top grafting, using scions from the trees in the demonstration orchard.

The station promotes livestock breeding. Merino Landrace rams are being crossbred with native ewes and the offspring are distributed to hill villagers. A herd of native cows and pure-blood American Bramah bulls are used for upgrading the hill tribesmen's cattle.

Early in February, the United Nations Project financed the purchase of 200 selected local ewes in Bangkok for breeding purposes at Ang Khan. On arrival in Chiang Mai the animals were cared for by the Thai-German Dairy Farm. Costs were covered by the Project. After rest and vaccination against hemorrhagic fever and foot-and-mouth disease the ewes were sent on to Ang Khan. No losses occurred during the journey and the natural increase amounted to ten lambs. New lambs from cross-breeding with the selected rams are being distributed to the key and satellite villages.

The transportation of produce from the hills will become a problem very soon. The hill people have enough pack animals for their current use, while their existing marketable produce, about 4 kgs of opium per year, for an average family, does not need any animal transportation. The new cash crops, however, will create a heavy demand for transport. To help solve this problem, a start is being made in Ang Khan where Haflinger ponies from the Austrian Tyrol are being tested and bred.

The station is used as a headquarters for extension work among the Lahu, Yunnanese and Yao villages. Seed and fertilizers are loaned to the hill farmers by His Majesty's Project. There is also a small-scale canning plant in the foothills for processing fruit and other produce.

Special crops and activities

Seed production

Vegetable seed production is one of the most promising cash crops for the highlands. Vegetables grow well in tropical areas of Thailand but seed must be imported from abroad. The problem has been intensively studied since the start of the Project with the help of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Chiengmai. The Government has given the full-time services of a seed grain production expert as counterpart staff who is establishing a vegetable seed production programme for Chang Khian Station and the villages.

Soya beans

The possibility of growing soya beans is presently being looked into. Soya beans are widely grown in the lowlands of Thailand as a second crop to rice. They are harvested in May. During this time the price of soya beans is quite low. If soya beans can be grown in upland areas during the end of the rainy season, there would be a very good market for them as soya beans are not generally grown during this season because of plant diseases and because much of the lowlands is under rice. At higher elevations in a cooler climate, it is reasonable to conclude that diseases will not be as prevalent. Field trials of seed acquired from the Mae Jo Agricultural Experiment Station are therefore being conducted on a limited scale in key and satellite villages as well as at Chang Khian station.


It is the intention to instal beehives in some of the key villages on a trial basis. Preliminary discussions have taken place, but the Project has not yet been fully launched. The training of villagers in apiculture at Chang Khian is also at a preparatory stage.


Personnel required for the implementation of the sericulture sector of the Work Plan under the direction of the Department of Agriculture, assisted by a Japanese sericulture team, are being selected and one followship nomination has been received from the Government for sericulture training in Japan.

Fisheries development

Past experience has shown that village fish ponds are a valuable source of protein and can be provided at relatively low cost. Fish ponds have therefore been planned in the key villages. A pond is well advanced in Chang Khian village where the water supply has been greatly improved with guidance and financial assistance from the Project.

The Thai Department of Fisheries and bilateral donors are collaborating and supplying fish stock, while the Hill Tribe Development Centre of the Social Welfare Department at Mae Ho, which has extensive experience in establishing profitable fish ponds, has offered assistance.

Other related activities

Marketing, credit and co-operatives

Integral to the success of the crop substitution programme is the development of credit systems and marketing. Some progress was made in these areas, particularly in locating marketing outlets for substitute cash crops. Ways of setting up co-operatives for the hill farmers to strengthen their marketing capabilities are under discussion with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture.


Agreement was reached with two tobacco firms to market two air-cured tobacco varieties, Oriental and Burley, if trials prove them suitable for highland cultivation. The Siam Tobacco Export Corporation has recommended the cultivation of Oriental leaf and is providing several varieties of seed for testing. The Gebruder Kulenkampff Tobacco Export Corporation has assured the programme a market for Burley. Of special importance is the permission given by the Director-General of Excise to the UN/Thai Project to grow Burley leaf in the hill areas.

Castor beans

Promising discussions were held with a leading firm in Bangkok, which indicated that if a sufficient source of castor beans were developed it would build an oil-processing plant in Thailand, either at Chiang Mai or Bangkok. This offer was made following discussions at the first ad hoc meeting of the marketing committee for castor beans.

Kidney beans

The quest for outlets for red kidney beans grown by the hill tribes under the King's Project has led to Kasetsart University, with the King's assistance, introducing a new food to the Thais, kidney beans and meat stew with chilis, which should provide a high protein speciality and be acceptable to the local taste for spicy foods.

Further research on opium replacement crops

The United States Department of Agriculture decided to support agricultural research on opium substitution crops in the hill tribe area. A representative of the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Wallace E. Manis, arrived in Chiang Mai on 14 November, and participated in all discussions concerning agricultural research. Dr. Manis signed an agreement on behalf of his department with Kasetsart University to the value of US$89,910 for developmental research on deciduous fruits for the highlands. This project, which will collaborate closely with Thai-UN activities, will introduce, evaluate and adapt deciduous fruits for the highlands that will (1) provide income replacement for discontinued opium poppy cultivation; (2) find a readily acceptable market as fresh fruit for canning or as dried fruit, and (3) help to settle hill tribes in both economically and ecologically sound communities.

Evaluation of progress on the crop replacement and community development project, September 1972-June 1973

Operations in the agricultural sector of the Programme were launched following the signing of the Work Plan on 1 September 1972. The period under evaluation, which includes preparatory work, is nine months and barely one agricultural season. It is, therefore, too brief to enable a valid judgment to be made on the usefulness and efficiency of the operations. It is possible, however, to define the criteria by which this sector of the Programme can be assessed and to decide whether any valid observations based on these criteria can be made at this very early stage of project implementation.

Before enumerating such criteria it should be remembered that the project for crop replacement and community development is a pilot project. Its main task is to assist the Thai authorities in defining ways and means of replacing opium cultivation by other economic activities, including the improvement of existing agricultural practices and the introduction of new crops and new sources of income. Significant decreases in the areas of opium poppy cultivation and in the quantities of opium produced will ultimately be the criteria by which will be judged the success of the Project jointly undertaken by the Government and the United Nations. For this to be achieved, it will be necessary for the United Nations to fulfil its task, as mentioned above, and for the Government of Thailand to make increasing use of the experience gained in all parts of the Programme.

Meanwhile, the Project may be judged by a combination of criteria:

  1. The acceptance of the Project by opium-growing hill tribe people;

  2. The active co-operation of various government departments and His Majesty's Project of Assistance to the Hill Tribes;

  3. The support of the UN Specialized Agencies and other multilateral and bilateral assistance projects;

  4. The establishment of the necessary Project infrastructure; and

  5. The scope and development of agricultural experimentation and rural extension work.

Rural extension activities in the hill-tribe area were started by the King's Project, the Public Welfare Department, the Border Patrol Police and other government and non-government agencies before the introduction of the UN/Thai Project. This greatly facilitated acceptance of the UN/Thai Project by the villagers. Project staff found the highland people receptive and co-operative to the extent that in several villages seed on offer for planting was insufficient to meet demand. At the first training course in livestock management for hill tribesmen, half of them elected to stay on for a second week. In a community development venture the villagers voluntarily provided all the labour needed and contributed part of the cost of materials.

The government agency jointly responsible with the United Nations for project co-ordination is the Central Bureau of Narcotics which works through a Sub-Committee composed of representatives of interested ministries, usually at the level of Vice-Minister. The support given to the Project by the Central Bureau of Narcotics as Counterpart Agency has been excellent. The Public Welfare Department readily made available all the staff required to carry out the various tasks, specifically extension personnel, and senior staff took keen personal interest in the Project. The Ministry of Health collaborated closely in the formulation of the Work Plan for the treatment and rehabilitation sector of the Programme. Other departments such as Land Development, Forestry and Fisheries took an active interest in Project activities. Friendly and active support came from Chiengmai and Kasetsart Universities. The Thai Sub-Committee on Project Implementation met twice in January 1973. Frequent meetings will be necessary as the Project gains momentum. There were several meetings of working panels on animal husbandry, land use, fruit and nut production and coffee growing.

There was active support of the Project from the UN family of organizations, such as FAO, WHO, ILO, UNESCO and WMO. UNICEF has promised to help in supplying water to key villages and to extend medical care to children and mothers. It is also interested in training midwives in the key villages.

Bilateral assistance projects from several countries have expressed interest in the Project and two of them co-operated most generously in different ways.

The installation of an office in Bangkok for the Programme and one in Chiang Mai for its agricultural sector was completed thanks to the generous co-operation of the Thai authorities. Necessary personnel were recruited and trained, equipment procured and contracts signed. This was facilitated by the help given by the UNDP Resident Representative's office and the ECAFE secretariat. Extension teams were trained, assigned duties and were supervised in their work. Construction of the Chang Khian Training and Agricultural Development Station was started in April and the station was partly operational by the end of June. Despite difficulties it will be ready for training the first group of hill tribesmen in September this year. Fields around the station as well as the nearby villages, where opium was grown during the past harvest season, were planted with other crops which are doing well. These are solid achievements.

The main shortcoming of the Project is the present lack of satisfactory outlets for new crops produced by the hill tribes. At the outset, the Project encountered difficulty in marketing a relatively low value replacement crop, namely kidney beans. The situation was philosophically commented upon by one of the village headmen who told the Project Manager: "We will follow your advice and will plant new crops. However, if we can't sell them we will go back to opium for which there is always a market."

Addict treatment and rehabilitation sector

The Work Plan for this Project, for which WHO together with ILO and their counterparts are responsible, was signed on 14 June 1973. It seeks to improve available treatment and rehabilitation facilities by providing material, research and training assistance.

The long term objectives and immediate activities planned are:

  1. Thanyarak Hospital: Support is to be given to (i) improve its facilities to assess the vocational abilities of patients; (ii) provide pre-vocational and work training; (iii) establish a pilot programme of limited sheltered employment; (iv) provide job placement for limited numbers; (v) ensure support to discharged patients; (vi) develop resources for the treatment of women; (vii) train staff; (viii) develop a records system for follow-up and evaluation.

  2. Bangkok Pre-admission and After-care Centre: Under this sector work will centre on (i) a contact and follow-up procedure on a pilot basis in Bangkok; (ii) increasing the number of drug abusers coming into contact with helping personnel; (iii) fostering admission to Thanyarak of those likely to benefit from treatment; (iv) initiating the development of an after-care system; (v) devising methods for reducing the relapse rate; (vi) improving social-personal functioning after discharge; (vii) developing a recordssystem for follow-up and evaluation. At present, the motivation of those admitted to Thanyarak is low. Through the Centre an attempt will be made to have those with high motivation given prior use of Thanyarak's limited resources


  1. Medical Correctional Institution, Rangsit: The Project seeks to provide (i) a pre-vocational and work-training programme; (ii) a job placement service; (iii) the addition of two social workers to its staff; (iv) to carry out research relative to treatment.

  2. Pra-Mongkutklao Hospital: Assistance will be given to the hospital to increase its capacity for both in/out patient care.

  3. Hill tribe Programme at Mae Ho: A drug-dependence centre will be built and begin operations as soon as possible. The hill people will be encouraged to improve their general health in addition to reducing the incidence of drug use. A records and follow-up system will be developed. Water resources tests for the hospital have already been made and a satisfactory site chosen.

  4. At Chang Khian: A paramedic will be included on the staff to provide instruction in hygiene and health topics as part of the ten-month extension training programme for hill tribesmen. The paramedic will also visit the villages and encourage people to go to Mae Ho for help.

To help the hill tribes adequately it will be necessary either to encourage all opium smokers in one village to go for treatment at the same time or set up satellite villages for returnees to lessen subsequent contact with users. There will also be some attempt to use resettlement schemes.

Narcotics information and education sector

A sum of US $33,000 has been made available in this sector as a contribution to the Government's programme of public information and preventive education on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and the consequences of their abuse. The Programme co-Directors have initiated consultations with the government health and education authorities and with WHO and UNESCO with a view to determining how this money can best be spent. It is expected that a work plan will be prepared shortly.

Law enforcement sector

The Programme is not directly concerned with law enforcement and the strengthening of measures against the illicit traffic as this falls under the responsibility of the Thai Government supported by bilateral assistance. However, as effective law enforcement is an integral part of any comprehensive country programme for drug abuse control, the Programme Directors have been in close touch with both the Thai authorities and bilateral assistance representatives in this field.

Some statistical data on key and satellite villages



Distance in km

Travel time (by road / foot) in hours








Doi Sam Mun
130 a
54 340 1 40 3
1 b
1.1 Nam Ru
2 c
40 250 0
4 d
1 0
1.2 Huai La
6 3
10 85 0 0 0 0
1.3 Mae Muang
30 174 0 0 0 0
1.4 Mae Sala
11 70 0 0 0 0
1.5 Mae Yen e
9 3
Ban Pui Neua
145 a
Blue Meo
15 125 0 0 2 0
2.1 Ban Pui Tai
6 c
Blue Meo
13 80 0 0 2 0
2.2 Pang Hin Fon
12 3
Blue Meo
9 84 0 0 1 0
2.3 Ban Pui Yang
4 1
18 100 0 0 0 0
2.4 Ban Khun Tume
Blue Meo
11 75 0 0 1 0
Ban Khum f
180 a
3.1 Khob Dong
3 c
26 178 0 0 0 0
3.2 Ban Luang
3 1
59 360 1 28 2 0
3.3 Ban Pa Ka
9 3
63 532 1 20 0 0
3.4 Nor Rae g
3 1
Mae Tho
145 a
Blue Meo
43 296 0
10 h
6 0
4.1 Mae Tho Luang
1.5 c
27 198 1 53 0 0
4.2 Mae Ab
6 2
10 49 0 0 0 0
4.3 Boh Lek
Blue Meo
16 165 0 0 0 0
4.4 Ban Lao Lee
Blue Meo
14 117 0 0 1 0
4.5 Ban Meo Kaos
Blue Meo
0 0 1 0
Khun Wang i
95 a
10   18 145 0 0 0 0

aFrom Chiang Mai (for key villages).

bNo Supplies.

cFrom key village (for satellite villages).

dAttend school in Doi Sam Mun.

eNot yet surveyed.

fNot yet surveyed; in Ang Khang area and serving as centre for co-ordinating work in satellite villages.

gNot yet surveyed.

hAttend Mae Tho Karen school.

iSatellite villages not selected.


Detailed information on the hill tribes, their economy and the place of opium in their lives is contained in Bulletin on Narcotics, XX, No. 3.


See Bulletin on Narcotics, XXI, No. 1.


1 baht = US $ 0.05.


Data from Kog Ma Water Research Station on Doi Pui.