Crop replacement and community development
Provisions in the work plan - Establishment of a Highland Agricultural Extension Training Centre and Field Crop Development Station at Chang Khian
Agricultural extension activities
Integrated rural development
Tea, coffee, essential oils and hops
Apiculture and sericulture
Livestock and poultry
Trade and co-operatives development activities
Press and television
Recommendations on crop replacement and community development
Insulation against market fluctuations
Crop improvement and introduction
Need to collate information
Observation on recommendations
Achievement of immediate objectives
Treatment and rehabilitation
Health care activities in hilltribe villages
General observation concerning treatment and rehabilitation
Recommendations on activities relating to treatment and rehabilitation
Reports relating to treatment and rehabilitation
Drug education and information
Recommendations on activities concerning education and information
Reports published under the auspices of the Programme
Author: I. M. G. WILLIAMS
Pages: 1 to 44
Creation Date: 1979/01/01
The paper describes the principal achievements of the UN/Thai programme for drug abuse control which was carried out during the years 1972-1979. The programme was of a pilot nature and covered five selected key villages and 25 satellite villages in the north of Thailand. The major components of the programme were crop replacement and community development, treatment and rehabilitation, and drug information and education. The Royal Thai Government has accepted the achievements of this project as models for greatly expanded programmes for the eradication of the opium poppy cultivation. Two key villages-Ban Mae Tho and Hui Tund Jaw which were included in a pilot programme have proved to be opium free.
Drug abuse and drug addiction have taken on increasingly dangerous proportions in many parts of the world. The reasons for the spread of drug abuse are complex and are different in different countries. It is clear, however, that the problem requires international corrective measures and that, unless such steps are taken, the present trend can lead only to a deterioration of the situation on an international scale.
The supply of traditional drugs comes largely from the illicit or uncontrolled production of narcotic raw materials. This occurs generally in the least developed areas of developing countries; the northwest of Thailand is one such area. Thailand has many claims on its limited means and needs the help of developed countries if it is to replace the growing of the opium poppy with other activities.
The demand for drugs comes from large numbers of addicts and habitual abusers in many parts of the world, and it stimulates both production and illicit traffic. To diminish demand, addicts must be treated and reintegrated into society as its productive members. This treatment and reintegration cannot follow a wholly uniform pattern everywhere, but must be based on studies which take full account of social and economic conditions, cultural traditions, etc., in each country or region. Moreoever, demand must also be reduced by preventive measures, which include education, particularly of young people, in the dangers of drug-taking and addiction. In developing countries, measures to reduce demand require the help of developed countries. If such help is not forthcoming, there is a serious risk that addiction will spread from new sources and that new centres for illicit traffic will come into being.
The threefold purpose of the United Nations Programme for Drug Abuse Control in Thailand has been to find ways of reducing the illicit supply of opium through a pilot project of technical and social aid for crop substitution activities; to promote facilities for the treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug addicts; and to develop educational material and programmes suitable for use on high-risk populations.
The Programme has attempted to assist the Royal Thai Government in bringing under control the drug abuse problem in Thailand by the progressive elimination of opium poppy cultivation, a reduction in drug addiction throughout the country, the suppression of illicit traffic, and the prevention of drug abuse by the young people of today and future generations.
The objectives of the Programme were identified as the result of findings and recommendations of two Thai-United Nations missions and various consultations over the past decade. His Majesty the King has taken a personal interest in the Programme and has financed activities in the same field for several years.
It is especially important to emphasize that the United Nations Programme in Thailand is by its very nature only a pilot Programme. It is not directly concerned with agricultural development throughout the northwest of Thailand. In the field of opium poppy replacement the main activities have been directed towards the establishment of a training and experimental station and the undertaking of extension work in five selected key villages and 25 satellite villages. Throughout Phase I, importance has also been attached to training and study tours outside Thailand, both for Thai members of the Programme staff and for selected international civil servants. In the treatment and rehabilitation and the education sectors, work has been carried out in small, clearly defined areas orientated towards research.
The UN/Thai Programme is believed to be the first of its kind in the world. There have previously been crop replacement projects, preventive education projects and treatment projects; but the UN/Thai Programme adopted a new approach to the problems created by the illicit traffickers in opium and heroin. For hundreds of years governments of the world have tried to fight the illicit traffickers with armies and stern police measures. In Thailand the co-operation of the opium poppy growers from project villages was won, and they were helped to grow crops other than the opium poppy: crops which gave them an income equal to or better than the money they had received from the illicit sale of opium. Since this pilot Programme was the first of its kind, it follows that it was not possible to find overall guidance in other countries.
This report is not a terminal report, because the Programme in all its aspects will continue. Rather, it covers the activities of Phase I.
It is appreciated that some readers will be familiar with all the work of the Programme since its inception. As the work of the Programme has become increasingly well known, however, interest has been aroused in many countries, and for readers as yet unfamiliar with the work detailed information is submitted.
It is recognized that the money paid to the opium producers is but a fraction of the returns reaped by the illicit dealers. It is also appreciated that the dealers' margin of profit would enable them to pay to the growers prices which could rarely be obtained for legitimate crops. But the evil dealers do not hold all the cards, and it is hoped that this report will show why.
The opium from Thailand, Burma and Laos is a major source of narcotics in the world's illicit market. The most suitable altitude for the cultivation of the opium poppy is above 3,000 feet in frost-free locations. The cultivators live in small villages which are scattered throughout the mountain tops and slopes. Many of their fields are small isolated plots in the forests, and it is not unusual for some fields of individual growers to be two days' walking distance from their villages.
The principal hilltribes with whom the Programme is concerned are the Hraong, Lisu, Karen and Lahu. Most are involved in the cultivation of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Some of these mountain people cultivate opium poppy fields which, by the common consent of their co-villagers, are regarded as being designated for individual family use; but the mountain people have no right of ownership to the land, which is crown or state land. Many hilltribe people are hired to work as labourers in the opium poppy fields, and their wages are often paid in opium.
In regard to the population of the opium producing hilltribes, the 1965/66 UN survey team reported 1 the following estimates:
The growers of the opium poppy are true "shifting cultivators". It is not simply the cultivations which shift but the cultivators as well, and they, especially the Hmong, may shift a hundred or more miles in one movement to areas above 3,000 feet and as high as 5,000 feet. Before such a major move is made there may be local shifts. If the area in which a group settles is large, the people will first farm in proximity to their village site. Later they will farm further away, building secondary houses in their fields but maintaining their houses in the village where they will congregate during slack periods in the agricultural year and at times of festivals. As the distance from village to cultivations increases, however, the secondary houses will be built to a better standard and in time they may become the only houses. The original village will then have atomized into a number of separate nuclei dispersed over its territory. This can usually be taken as a sign that settlement in the area is coming to an end. The territorial limits of expansion have been reached. The next is a leap, or series of leaps, away from the area. New congregations will occur in other places, and the process of accretion and dispersion will be repeated over roughly a ten-year period.
Through this process, forest lands are continually being denuded. When fertility has been exhausted by the opium poppy after five to ten years the growers move on causing more damage to the fast diminishing forests. Poppy cultivation thus encourages a migratory pattern of living. Moreover, because the opium poppy growers depend on opium production they do not grow enough crops, especially rice, for their subsistence needs.
Many hill villagers are caught by the consequences of their settlement patterns. They do not have enough land in the areas where they are living to make themselves self-supporting in rice and supplementary foods for long periods of time.
1 Report of the United Nations Survey Team on the Economic and Social Needs of the Opium Producing Area in Thailand (Bangkok Government House Printing Office, 1968).
There is no problem in getting us to stop growing opium if you approach us in the right way. Help us to grow more rice: help us to make terraces.
Lan Sue Saen Jung, Hmong (Meo) Headman Ban Phui Village.
The mountainous area in northern Thailand, northeastern Burma and northwestern Laos is inhabited by ethnoculturally different groups of people, known as the hilltribes. These people have in the main migrated south from Chiaa and eastwards from Burma. The area has been called the Golden Triangle. It is not definitely known how this name originated but rumour has it that an English lady journalist was the first to use it. It is probably the most unfair misnomer in present use. The area is poverty stricken, and if there is any golden touch, it is being enjoyed by the illicit dealers in New York, Amsterdam, London, Stockholm and many other large capitals.
Eleven semi-annual reports have been published on the UN Programme for Drug Abuse Control on Thailand from September 1972, until December 1978. These reports are especially commended to readers who seek details of many of the in-depth activities carried out under the Crop Replacement and Community Development Project, e.g., small grain research, coffee cultivation, extension work, pasture and livestock improvement, etc. 2
Because so much detailed information is already available, this article describes as succinctly as possible the major activities carried out and gives an indication of achievements and lessons learnt. These are then compared with the requirements of the Work Plan.
It is believed that the hilltribe people grow the opium poppy as a means of obtaining money to purchase rice after old rice harvests have been exhausted. From the inception of the programme, priority has been given to finding ways to assist the mountain farmers to improve their subsistence crops both in quality and quantity.
Assistance in the form of training and the provision of seeds was freely given by the International Rice Research Institute and by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre.
In addition to improving the crops which the hilltribes already grow, efforts have been made to find profitable cash crops as replacements for the opium poppy. The strategy has been mixed and flexible.
Before the Programme activities were started in the mountains, efforts had been made to resettle some of the hilltribe families. Also, teams from the Public Welfare Department had visited the villages. The teams included teachers, agriculturalists and health workers.
In order to gain the confidence of the hilltribe villagers, it was felt that extension agents should live in the key villages. The Programme planners were advised, however, that young Thai graduates would never move away from the civilized life in Bangkok and Chiang Mai to live in remote villages in primitive conditions. Nevertheless, an effort was made to establish a permanent presence in the key villages, and it was determined that, if any agricultural graduates agreed to live in the selected mountain villages, their personal interests would be given the highest consideration.
Through the good offices of the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Chiengmai University, and the Director-General of the Department of Public Welfare, young agricultural graduates were seconded to work with the Programme. In addition to their stipends from their parent bodies, they were paid small allowances to encourage them to live in remote areas in the most primitive conditions. Their pension rights and promotion prospects were safeguarded, since they remained on their respective staff lists.
2. Copies of the reports may be obtained from the Project Manager, Crop Replacement and Community Development Project, 46 Huay Kaew Road, Super Highway, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The young graduates, known as extension team leaders, were posted to key villages and were expected to remain in the villages for three weeks continuously every month and to report to the project office in Chiang Mai for debriefing at the end of each month. Radio communications were established in each key village, and in times of need or trouble the extension team leaders could communicate with Chiang Mai. Especial care was taken to ensure an adequate supply of field equipment, including footwear and protective clothing suitable for mountain areas.
In addition to the staff made available by the Chiengmai University and by the Public Welfare Department, additional personnel were engaged on a direct hire basis: such personnel included, for example, tobacco, pasture and vegetable technicians.
Great care was taken to try to make the Programme a Thai Programme, and the size of the international staff was kept to a minimum. The services of consultants were sought in specialized fields. They were invited to pay short visits to the Programme areas, to write full reports with recommended instructions, and to pay subsequent visits to monitor progress.
The Chang Khian Station is located at the site of a former Hmong village. A portion of the land was used for poppy cultivation until 1972 but was abandoned in that year because, in the villagers' view, the soil had lost its fertility.
The Station lies 32 km northwest of Chiang Mai on Doi Pul mountain at an altitude of 3,018 ft. to 4,002 ft. and it has slopes of up to 35 degrees. The site comprises two locations; an area of 64 rai on the southeast side of Doi Pui with steep slopes known as site A, and a larger area of 250 rai on the northwest side, with more gentle slopes called site B. (1 rai equals 0.395 acre or 0.160 hectare.)
The Chang Khian area has three seasons: 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. (The maximum temperature 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 temperature is 69°F.
The area receives an average annual rainfall of 2,122 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, from 90 to 100 per cent during the rainy season, and between 78 and 90 per cent during the cool season.
The land Chang Khian was chosen because:
It lies above 3,000 feet and therefore at an altitude at which the opium poppies are grown.
Part of the land had an adequate year-round water supply for irrigation, and part of the land would have to produce rain-fed crops. Such different conditions were essential for applied research on crops to be grown in the opium producing and opium dependent villages. Some of these villages, e.g., Khan Wang, have an adequate water supply, and in other villages, e.g., Doi Sam Mun, the shortage of water poses many problems.
The land had been abandoned by an opium producing village because, in the villagers' view, the land had lost its fertility. Such land promised to be a good location at which to demonstrate the benefit of modern farming methods with which fertility could be restored.
Chang Khian Station was designed as a training station as well as a development station. By selecting the site within reasonable distance of Chiang Mai, it was possible to enlist the help of lecturers and teachers, on a part-time basis, from members of the staff of Chiengmai University.
On 8 February 1973, verbal permission was received for the erection of temporary huts for workers at Chang Khian and for the ground to be cleared. Professional assistance in making surveys was given by appropriate departments of the Royal Thai Government and by Chiengmai University. In addition, invaluable help was given by the Government of Israel. Such help was especially welcome in the preparation of a topographical map. It is worthy of note that the recommendations made in 1973 were implemented and that now, six years later, it can be said that the proposals for land use have proved to be sound.
The buildings at Chang Khian used by the students are of simple structure; they could be copied at the village level. They include, at Site A, five single storey structures made of wood, each of which can accommodate ten single students or two married families. There is a communal dining hall and water borne sanitation. In the administrative section, there is an office, a large class-room and stores. Overlooking the site is a dwelling designed for the station manager. At Site B there are stores, a glasshouse and dwellings for junior staff and workers.
When Chang Khian Station was being planned, the Programme Director was advised that it would be necessary to provide separate sleeping places for the different tribal groups and that it was of especial importance to build separate cooking facilities, because members of the different tribes would like to eat food cooked according to the different tribal customs. In each of the dwelling quarters separate cooking facilities were built, but in the event such construction was a waste of money. From the first day of training all students from different tribal backgrounds ate in the communal dining hall. The food was cooked by a northern Thai lady and her helper.
The main aim of the training centre is to train highland agricultural extension workers (hilltribes) and tribal farmers to increase their knowledge of highland agriculture and to help them to grow economic crops other than the opium poppy. The training is not confined to agricultural topics but also aims to help the trainees to enjoy a higher standard of living and to act as leaders in community development. The main courses last eight to nine months and are attended by about 35 students whose ages might range from 16 to 50; 20 is the average age of the trainees. The subjects, in addition to purely agricultural topics, included Thai language both spoken and written, health and hygiene, community development, introduction to arithmetic, family planning, ethics and introduction to methods of food preservation.
Practical work at the development sites within the Station was interspersed with theoretical learning. Experience has shown that the length of lessons in the classroom had to make allowance for the fact that many students had received little, if any, formal education; being confined to a school desk must at first have been a sore trial. The attendance rate was high, and the few who left the courses had sound reasons for doing so, e.g., a death in the family.
Those students who proved to be outstanding were engaged as village extension workers and managers of village agricultural centres in their home satellite villages. Thus, farmer trainees are playing leading roles in research and extension in their respective villages. In such strategic positions, these hilltribesmen can exert a beneficial influence on the crop replacement programme, creating a receptive climate for the introduction of new crops.
In addition to the extension workers' training programmes, courses of lesser duration are held. These latter courses, which have become known as subject matter courses, are of two to three weeks' duration and concentrate on specialized subjects such as grafting, pruning, fertilizers, coffee cultivation, pest control, etc.
It is very clear that the training facilities at Chang Khian have played a key role in the long-term replacement goals. When Chiengmai University assumes full responsibility for the Station, it is hoped that the facilities will be increased and the curricula broadened greatly.
At Chang Khian observation trials are conducted in order to ascertain the possibilities for highland cultivation. All the trials have been fully reported upon in the progress reports and only observations of general interest will be reported upon here.
At the inception of the programme, the amount of information available on soils, climatic conditions, diseases, pests, etc. was very limited. One of the first facilities to be completed at Chang Khian was a small meteorological station. The results from this station were fed into the national network. Seeds and plants were brought in from many parts of the world, and basic research was carried out on an intensive scale.
At the end of Phase I, Chang Khian Station no longer needs to be used to find "crops which will grow and can be sold" but rather its future would seem to be to fill the need for in-depth research into diseases, insect damage, fertilizer rates, etc. Emphasis has always been placed on improving the staple food of the highland people-rain-fed rice and corn. The extensive trials carried out at Site B identified promising varieties which have been extended to village agricultural centres.
New small grain crops continue to be grown on an experimental basis at the Station. These include wheat, oats, barley and triticale. 3 The local brewing industry has undertaken to buy barley harvests if the standard is high enough to meet the requirements of the malt barley needed for beer making.
3 Triticale is a cereal crop bred by a Scottish botanist. It is a combination of wheat ( triticum sativum) and rye ( scale cereale).
The successful crops developed at the Station also included coffee (arabica), kidney beans, navy beans, off-season vegetables (lettuce, carrots, etc.), peaches, passion fruit, field corn and potatoes.
The objectives of the Programme for Drug Abuse Control in Thailand, as defined in the UN-Thai agreement of 7 December 1971, include the progressive elimination of opium poppy cultivation and its replacement by other crops and economic activities.
The development of viable crops which will grow in the mountains of northwest Thailand, the building of training facilities, and the training of suitable personnel are difficult but essential early steps in the task of replacing the opium poppy. Yet these activities, however difficult they might have appeared in the early days, proved to be almost routine when compared with the final step of persuading the mountain farmers to grow new crops for which markets had to be found.
Believing the greatest barrier to the development of improved agricultural practices and technologies and their transfers to the farmers who grow the opium poppy to be the fence or ditch around research stations, the early planners resolved to try to interest and involve the farmers right from the beginning.
The early steps in the pilot project activities consisted of selecting five villages in which initially to demonstrate and then to extend new crops and practices. The five villages which became known as "key villages", are:
Ban Mae Tho (MA 1517) a Hmong or Meo opium producing village. It was selected in order to benefit from the work of the Public Welfare Department and from the research activities of Professor W.R. Geddes.
Ban Phui (MA 1547) a Hmong or Meo opium producing village, which was selected because at the time of the start of the Programme it was situated in the heart of an intense opium producing area.
Doi Sam Mun (MS 5846) a Lisu opium producing area. At the time of the start of the Programme the village was raised by law enforcement personnel brought to the village in helicopters; the doors of the houses were kicked in and the houses were searched for opium. The reaction of the villagers was such that they threatened to shoot down any helicopters which flew near the village. The Programme was later invited to include Doi Sam Mun in its list of key villages. It is a village with little water.
Khun Wang (MA 4963) a Hmong or Meo opium producing village. It has a good water supply, and it was selected because there were large areas of unproductive land which had long been abandoned after being exhausted by opium poppy production.
Ban Khun (NC 0802) is situated near Ang Khan where one of His Majesty the King's projects is situated. The Programme rendered assistance to the King's project for some three years. When the assistance was no longer required, the programme's contribution was concentrated in the area around the satellite village of Ban Luang (Chinese Hau).
Each of the five key villages was allocated five neighbouring villages, which became known as satellite villages. Thus 30 villages were involved in the pilot project.
The first step was to build in each of the key villages houses of simple design in which the extension teams could live in basic comfort and in which the hill villagers would not feel unduly out of place or in too alien surroundings. The extension teams always welcomed the villagers to their homes, where in the evenings lessons in Thai language were taught and medicines for common ailments were dispensed.
Village agricultural centres were built around the extension workers' houses within the bounds of the hilltribe villages. For the villagers there was free access to the research activities, and the men, women and children were always encouraged to believe that all activities were a part of village activities. Towards the end of Phase I, individual villagers were encouraged to try out new crops on land within the agricultural centres, any losses being borne by the Programme but any profits going to the villager.
In the agricultural centres, priority has again been given to the improvement of subsistence crops, especially upland rice. Details of the major trials carried out at the centres are set out in the semi-annual reports, but for the reader brief details of some agricultural activities are listed below:
Applied research and demonstrations with already extended crops and with probable future extension crops;
Observation trials with potential replacement crops, e.g., evening primrose, kiwi fruit, herbs, spices, seed crops, medicinal plants, etc.;
Nursery production of tree crop seedlings;
Demonstration of soil management practices;
Demonstrations on management practices of extended crops;
Village meetings and teaching sessions on problems of production of crops, marketing, etc.
The village extension teams do not confine their activities to the agricultural centres but are encouraged to spend most of their time supervising crops already extended to farmers' fields and to help to overcome problems by working of the village land.
After the trials and demonstrations in the agricultural centres, the next step is further production trials in farmers' fields as part of the extension research programme. The purpose of the trials is to test yet-to-be extended crops to determine production potentials under hilltribe area growing conditions. Trials continue with rice, wheat, new varieties of potatoes, corn, flowers, navy beans, soy beans, etc., and new trials are being established with chicory and pyrethrum.
Crops which have proved to be successful in trials in selected farmers' fields and which have been generally extended include upland rice (new varieties), kidney beans, navy beans, coffee, wheat, off-season vegetables (lettuce, carrots, etc.), offseason potatoes, peaches, passion fruit, field corn, etc.
Outside the agricultural centres, but within the bounds of the village, large storage facilities have been constructed at Ban Phui and Mae Tho. The stores are used for the grading, sorting and packaging of dry beans, coffee and other extended crops. These stores fulfil a need and are fully accepted by the villagers. If sufficient funds could be made available, all key and some selected satellite villages should have similar storage facilities. Priority could be given to Ban Luang for its potato harvests and to Mae Sa Mai for its fresh vegetable production.
It is now clear that the paramount importance of crop storage was not appreciated by the early planners. Seed crops, such as red kidney beans, showed little loss while stored in the key villages after being treated against insect infestation. Crops which were brought down to Chiang Mai, although fumigated two or three times, suffered from infestation; and thus there was a financial loss to the Programme. The Tropical Products Institute (TPI) in London was invited to run a training course in Durable Crop Storage for Programme personnel; members of the Hilltribe Welfare Division and the Department of Agriculture were also invited to participate. The course, which was held in November/December 1978 in Chiang Mai, was a success and clearly indicated a great need for further courses and for long- and short-term training of members of the extension teams.
Hand processing equipment for coffee, both pulpers and hullers, has been made available in all key and satellite villages. Drying aprons for coffee, chicory, pyrethum, etc., are being constructed, but, as the potential harvests will go beyond the capacity of the hand processing equipment, there will soon be a need for more sophisticated handling of crops. It might well be that at some key villages, such as Doi Sam Mun, the time has come to establish a centre where, with motor-driven equipment, wheat could be thrashed, coffee beans pulped and hulled, chicory sliced, etc.
Abandoned opium poppy fields are often taken over by a grass known as coggan grass (Imperata cylindrica). The grass is of very little economic value. If it could be eradicated and pastures established, great benefit would result, for it covers hundreds of square miles of land. A successful sub-project along these lines is nearing completion; demonstration pastures have already been established at Khun Wang, Ban Hin Fon (near Ban Phui) and Doi Sam Mun.
The diet of the hilltribe people is usually lacking in protein. To try to remedy this deficiency, attention has been paid to the making of fish ponds in the Programme villages. Fish are bred at the specially constructed breeding pond at Chang Khian Station, and at the appropriate age the fish are transported, usually by helicopter, to key and satellite villages. Fish ponds have been established successfully at Khun Wang, Ban Phui, Pha Mort, Nam Ru, Ban Luang, Buak Chan, and Pha Nok Kok. The most promising fish is the talapia. Fry are donated by the Fisheries Department. Rainbow trout have been stocked in a stream at Khun Wang.
The work carried out in the 30 villages with which the Programme is concerned has led to the conclusion, now self-evident, that the path ahead lies in integrated rural development.
It soon became clear that because opium-producing and opium-dependent villages were receiving help through the Programme in the provision of water supplies, schools, health centres, etc., such villages were receiving better attention than law abiding villages in the same area. The opium takers and the opium producers were, in effect, receiving preferential attention. The law abiding villagers began to ask why this should be so, and the seeds of dissension were possibly being sown.
Integrated rural development, of which crop replacement, treatment of addicts, and narcotic education would form a part, is clearly the right policy. The implementation of such a policy should be at the speed at which the mountain people can keep pace and step-by-step in manageable geographical locations, e.g., valley-by-valley, watersheds, etc.
Reference has been made to the help given by the agricultural extension teams to villagers when the young Thai graduates taught Thai after working hours and dispensed simple medicines. In some of the key villages, help went one stage further. Health centres were built at Ban Phui and also at Mae Tho. Additional centres will soon be completed at Doi Sam Mun and near Khun Wang.
Schools for village children were built at Khun Wang and at Ban Phui. Parents living in villages near Ban Phui sent their children to the school in that key village. The parents asked if it would be possible for these children to be housed in a dormitory in order to avoid the daily walk of some three hours.
The teachers at the schools welcomed the presence in the villages of the extension teams, because in the past the life of a lone Thai teacher in a mountain village was indeed exacting.
Much of the heavy material needed for the building of schools and health centres was taken into the mountains on the backs of elephants.
This report continues subject-by-subject as set out in the Programme's Work Plan.
Tea grows wild in parts of the northwest of Thailand, and market trends indicate that it is a strong contender as one of the replacement crops in the long term. Preliminary investigations were conducted by the Programme; but, in view of expert advice that the tea leaf must be in the factory for processing within five hours of picking, it was felt tea could not be grown in the key villages until roads had been built.
At the end of Phase I, surveys were being conducted. If the findings are positive, there is hope that the British Government will consider providing machinery for a tea factory.
Coffee experiments, extension and marketing are described fully in other parts of this report and in the semi-annual reports. Reference may here be made to the care which was taken in finding coffee seeds of disease resistant varieties, especially those which were resistant to coffee rust disease (Hemileia vastatrix) and which would command a high price. Not only was it important to safeguard the interests of the growers but, since a new variety of coffee was to be introduced, it was vital to safeguard the national interests of Thailand. At the end of Phase I countries in South America are reluctant to sell further supplies of coffee seeds to the Programme; but fortunately sufficient seed can now be produced at Chang Khian Station and in the key and satellite villages to meet the immediate needs of extension activities.
Early Programme activities included basic research into essential oils at Chang Khian Station. When this potential was established, the research work was taken over by the Applied Scientific Research Institute assisted with funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Hop cuttings were kindly donated by a farmers' association in Austria and were planted at Ang Khang. The experiment was not successful. The Hop Research Institute, University of London, was consulted, and the advice received was that the hop plant required 16 hours of daylight. (Thailand has approximately 12 hours of daylight.)
There is a strong potential market for hops in southeast Asia. Perhaps a variety suited to the conditions in Thailand will be found in the future.
The improved pasture project highlighted the need for an increase in the bee population, since the local bees were unable to pollinate the increased flowerage.
Beehives were introduced, and many modifications of the hives were made in an attempt to control the wax moth ( Galleria Sp.). This moth causes extensive damage to combs and results in absconding by the native bees. Successful methods of control were not found, and the bee keeping sub-project was abandoned.
A senior representative of the Tropical Products Institute, while on a visit to Khun Wang, invited attention to a kind of silk, known as eri, which she had seen on a recent visit to Bihar. The eri worm lived on the leaf of the castor bean tree, and, unlike the mulberry worm, did not need to be killed before silk winding.
A small team of Thai officials was sent to India, and the members were enthusiastic about the prospects of eri silk cultivation in the mountains of northwest Thailand. The eggs which the team brought back were sent to the Ministry of Agriculture, and worms were bred successfully.
The Programme obtained plans of a building specially designed for eri silk culture and obligated funds to meet the cost of its construction. An opinion was expressed, however, to the effect that, if the eri silk moths were introduced into the mountains, the moths would soon multiply and would destroy the forests. It was pointed out that a moth of the same species had existed in the wild in the Chiang Mai area for many years and had caused no damage. The eri silk subproject was nevertheless abandoned.
Towards the end of Phase I, eri silk culture was started, ' but many valuable years had been lost. As has been stated, the eri moth flourishes on the leaf of the castor tree; the tree thus provides food for the eri silk moth, shade for young coffee plants, and beans for oil.
In the report of the UN Survey Team (1968), it was stated "Improvement in the quality and quantity of livestock production pre-supposes good, practical extension by livestock husbandry staff and some instruction in the art of simple veterinary medicine at the level at which it could be applied by the farmer."
Perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses in the Programme has been the failure to establish husbandry staff who could provide good, practical extension services. The need for veterinary services has always been appreciated by the Programme staff; when the whole chicken population of a village dies or the pig population of another village is wiped out by disease, the stark need for vaccination and other simple veterinary services is not hard to see.
A valuable lesson has been learned in the treatment and rehabilitation project, where it was appreciated that medical facilities at the same standard as those on the plains could not be provided in the mountain areas in the foreseeable future. On the principle that something good, however little, is better than nothing, hilltribesmen selected by their co-villagers were given four months' training in basic village health care. At the end of their training they were given simple lessons in animal husbandry; the students could benefit from their newly acquired medical knowledge.
The provincial authorities might well be interested in four- or five-month training courses on livestock and poultry with some outside financial assistance to cover small costs not provided for in the regular budgets.
This is a subject of such great importance, touching as it does on national security and other far-reaching aspects of national sovereignty, that it can only be commented upon within very narrow limits in such a report as this. Those limits are the lands needed in the present key and satellite villages and any new key and satellite villages which might be selected in the future.
For the foreseeable future the possibility of granting individual land tenure rights to mountain farmers would appear to be remote. In the report of the United Nations Survey Team it was stated that "We are not emphatic believers that individual tenure is by any means fundamental to developing of a sense and a practice of better farming, but we believe that some form of group or village tenure could be a useful encouragement to these ends, under certain conditions." 4 Experience on a modest scale during the past six years has shown that the views expressed some twelve years ago hold true today. The lack of individual land tenure has not inhibited the villagers of Mae Sa Mai from terracing old opium fields at their own expense in order to cultivate fresh vegetables or the hill people of Khun Wang from planting thousands of coffee seedings in fields with communal management.
Nevertheless, village land tenure would be an encouragement; it would help to reduce the growing friction between the mountain people and the Royal Forestry Department; and it would be a first step in long-term and orderly development.
The Royal Forestry Department could be invited to demarcate on the ground the boundaries of the land where use by the hilltribes under specified conditions 5 would not be opposed and would be free from interference by the Department. Such demarcation could be carried out now in the existing key and satellite villages. As more funds become available and work is extended to additional villages, the defining of village limits should receive early attention. The demarcation could be carried out under the co-ordinating authority of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.
It will be noted that there is no proposal to cover the overall demarcation of forest lands. Demarcation on an ad hoc basis of land for use by the mountain people meets an immediate need to respond to the villagers' willingness to co-operate in plans for integrated rural development on an expanding scale. If no action were taken until a perfect solution to all the problems in the area were found, it might well be that, after years of planning and project preparations, the co-operation of the mountain people would have been lost.
In the Work Plan it was stated "The UNFDAC-assisted Project for Crop Replacement will fail if the necessary outlets at reasonable producer prices for the products of the hill people cannot be obtained."
4 Report of the United Nations Survey Team on the Economic and Social Needs of the Opium Producing Area in Thailand, as on page 3 (1968).
5 It has been suggested some conditions should be relative to the eschewing, of growing the opium poppy or otherwise participating in making and trafficking in opium. Existing legislation, however, makes such conditions unnecessary.
In 1977, an opium poppy grower could sell one joi 6 of opium for B 900 ($US 45). In 1979, opium from an equivalent area could be sold for B 8,000 ($US 397). The sharp increase in price was due to a poor opium harvest because of lack of rain.
These figures are quoted here because visitors to the Programme activities quickly point out that, since the price paid to the hilltribes is such a small fraction of the money earned by the illicit dealers, it can be raised substantially, and any replacement crops must therefore be of very great value. Added to this must be the other marketable "advantages" of opium. Indeed some visitors ask why one should try to set up trade, credit and co-operative development activities for crops other than opium when there is no possibility of ever beating the opium poppy as a marketable product.
If simple monetary concerns were the only factors to be considered by the growers of the opium poppy, then visitors seeking a quick, but not constructive answer, would probably be right. Leaving aside the fact that opium poppy cultivation is illegal in Thailand, it would be well to set out some of the other factors, which are part of the growers' willingness to grow other crops.
All those engaged in opium poppy cultivation during the 1978-79 season did not receive $US 397 for every rai of land cultivated. Some suffered an almost total crop failure and will be forced to borrow money at a possible minimum rate of interest of 100 per cent. This is one of the reasons why growers are willing to switch to other crops-the uncertainties of opium harvests and consequent indebtedness.
Slash-and-burn cultivation requires moving every four to six years. It means no schools, no basic village health care, and no respite from constant drudgery. Potential crops such as coffee will last for 50 years, which will encourage permanent settlement and its attendant benefits. Moreover, suitable land for opium poppy cultivation is not limitless in northwest Thailand, and many growers report they are running short of suitable land.
Finally, the returns from some of the replacement crops compare favourably with the best returns from the illicit sale of opium. A low rate of coffee cultivation would be 260 trees per rai. An expected harvest would be one kilogram of coffee beans from each tree after four years. In the early part of 1979, the world price per kilogram was Baht 56, which is equivalent to $US 723 per raj. But, because of the high quality of the key and satellite villages' coffee, merchants were willing to buy in Chiang Mai at Baht 68 per kilogram or $US 877 per rai. Other crops such as fresh vegetables, chicory and red kidney beans also promise returns which the hilltribe people find attractive.
There is therefore a need for trading facilities including credit. Over-all marketing plans have been thoroughly examined in other papers including the Highland Agricultural Marketing and Production Proposals.
The solutions to the immediate marketing problems were found in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai by the Programme staff themselves. At its inception the Programme inherited from another project the task of selling red kidney beans which had already been harvested and which were being brought uninvited by hill growers to the Chiang Mai office. There is little point in retelling a tale of frustration; suffice to say that the lessons learned in the Thai and international markets resulted in a demand greater than the supply in subsequent harvests. The marketing of coffee presented no problems and the sale of future harvests has been guaranteed at world prices by Nestlé of Vevey, Switzerland.
6 One joi is roughly equivalent to 1.6 kg and is the estimated yield of opium from an area of opium poppy cultivation of one rai of land (0.395 acre or 0.160 hectare).
The marketing of off-season fresh vegetables from villages with reasonable road access presented unique problems. The Chiang Mai market was soon satisfied and, in order to sell the vegetables in Bangkok, Programme staff loaded them on to trains in Chiang Mai and the Bangkok staff distributed them to outlets in the capital city. The high quality of the vegetables was brought to the notice of Thai International Airways, who have undertaken to buy fresh vegetables and to help in promoting their sale outside Thailand. Thai International Airways flight kitchens support 22 other airlines.
There is now a need for a forward looking and up-to-date examination of the problems and the potentialities based on the knowledge and experience gained during the last two years when some replacement crops began to be produced in marketable quantities.
All the evidence leads to the conclusion that the private sector is the best long-term solution to marketing/trading problems. But private firms cannot be expected to make worthwhile contributions until trials have shown that crops can be grown of a high quality and potentially in sufficient quantity. Such trials and development of new crops must continue to be the responsibility of the Programme, and financial resources should continue to be made available on a grant basis.
There is an intermediate step between Programme responsibility and private sector responsibility for marketing. The following example of a workable solution to the problem of introducing the private sector may be cited. The project had advanced bean seeds, fertilizers, etc. on a loan-plus-interest basis at sowing time to the villagers at Mae Tho. At harvest time a Chinese merchant bought all the beans the villagers wished to sell. By mutual arrangement, the buyer with his cash and project personnel, with the list of borrowers, visited the village at the same time. Amounts owed to the project by villagers were deducted before the balances were handed to individual farmers.
There has long been a need for agricultural credit facilities for the mountain people. Their need is simple but essential: credit for the purchase of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. and for special items such as tools, simple equipment and livestock of improved kind.
The Royal Thai Government's Bank of Agriculture and AgriCultural Cooperatives in the past has been unable to make credit available to hilltribe farmers, because under its rules credit could only be made available to Thai citizens. An additional reason why the granting of credit was difficult was the remote setting of the hilltribe agricultural activities and the difficulty of identifying "credit worthy" farmers. Part of the blame for the lack of credit facilities must also lie with the hill people themselves.
Every baby born in Thailand is entitled to Thai citizenship but few hilltribe families take the trouble to ensure that the village headman registers a birth with the appropriate civil authority.
Through the good offices of the Narcotics Control Board, arrangements are now being made by the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives for credit facilities to be made available to some hilltribe farmers. The project extension agents will play a large part when the credit scheme is introduced, especially in helping bank officials in deciding credit worthiness.
The UN/Thai Programme's Crop Replacement and Community Development Project has been making loans of different kinds for some years. The loans mainly take the form of seed potatoes, seed beans, fertilizers, barbed wire and plastic water piping. Experience shows that, whenever possible, borrowers make repayments at the appointed times. If, through crop failure, loans cannot be repaid, the farmers seek permission for the repayment to be postponed until the following harvest. An essential element in assisting the farmers in the mountains is that there are no "free gifts" or direct subsidies. The farmers appreciate this policy and raise no objection to the payment of interest on loans; in fact the farmers like being treated on a "commercial basis".
One condition of all project loans has been that opium poppy cultivation will cease in designated fields which are agreed upon by the project staff and the farmers before the loans are made; the farmers have kept their word.
To many people, a hilltribe village might seem to be a group of poor people, equal in their poverty and in their misery. But first-hand experience over a period of time shows that there are in many villages the comparatively rich, a "middle class" and the very poor. Under the present proposals being considered for the introduction of credit facilities, proposals in themselves most welcome and a great advance, there are no provisions under which the very poor could receive loans; the "rich" are being made "richer" and the rock-bottom poor continue without hope.
There is a need for funds to be made available to enable the poor to take the first steps to become credit worthy. Such a first step could be taken if provision could be made for the supply of food and other essentials to families, for a limited period, while they worked on improving land which they would subsequently be allowed to use. This should be possible, since it is understood that more than one international organization is able to supply free food and other basic needs to those who would be prepared to provide labour in such circumstances.
The World Food Programme, for example, gives assistance in some 80 countries. The Programme's "food-for-work" concept would seem to be eminently suitable to help the rock-bottom poor. A pilot sub-project could perhaps be considered for Karens living in some of the satellite villages of Ban Phui. These villages are proposed because the Institute of Health Research, Chulalongkorn University, has worked in the area and might well be willing to assist in such a sub-project. Assistance from the World Food Programme might take the form of the free issue of rice, of foods rich in proteins, such as canned fish, and of other basic needs. An application for aid should be in excess of $US 20,000, the minimum figure which will be considered.
The ability shown by the hilltribe people in the working of silver, the weaving of cloth, and the embroidering of garments is of a high standard and has long been admired in Thailand and in foreign countries. Thanks to the initiative and enthusiasm of the first programme officer for Thailand in the Division of Narcotic Drugs, Geneva, a sound handicrafts sub-project was established in some Hmong and Lisu villages. The Handcrafts Co-ordinator in Chiang Mai at times lived in the villages. She showed the women what kind of embroidery was required and gave details of size and design for pieces to be utilized in making up into a wide range of attractive handicrafts.
From very modest beginnings, the sub-project grew and was able to complete large orders. One order from Sweden, for example, was worth some $US 40,000. The work was popular with the village women, who found embroidering a much easier task than opium poppy cultivation.
Prior to the end of Phase I, arrangements were made in Bangkok, through the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, for the Handicrafts Sub-Project to be taken over by the Department of Public Welfare. It was the Programme's good fortune that a Governor of Chiang Mai Province, who had shown a deep interest in the key and satellite villages, was made the Director-General of the Public Welfare Department.
At a simple ceremony on 11 July 1979 in Bangkok, UNFDAC transferred to the Department of Public Welfare handicrafts stock to the value of more than $US 20,000. Arrangements were also made for the Co-ordinator to be consultant to train departmental personnel. Plans were being prepared to open additional shops in the main tourist centres in the south of Thailand. Border Police handicraft activities were also to be absorbed by the Department.
The Programme benefited from favourable coverage in Thai and international media. The publications in which articles about its activities appeared included Reader's Digest, both English and Chinese editions, and leading national newspapers and magazines in many countries. Television organizations which filmed in Thailand included the BBC of London, CBS of America, Sydney Channel 9 of Australia, and channels and companies from Thailand, Switzerland, Germany, Iran, Norway and Sweden.
The Royal Thai Government was extremely helpful in giving approval for the granting of UNFDAC assistance to journalists and visiting film crews. Such assistance took the form of help with transport, accommodation in Programme dwellings in the mountains, the provision of guides and interpreters, and in-depth briefings in the Chiang Mai and Bangkok offices.
The Programme director's membership of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, and his elected membership of the executive committee, helped to create good relations with press and television.
Based on experience gained in the pilot project, the following recommendations are submitted:
The control of the speed of development should be the extent to which the hill people are able to co-operate.
Consultations with, and the subsequent co-operation of, the hill people are two of the vital ingredients of progress.
The hill people should not be expected to shoulder responsibility or risks when new crops are being tested or during the early stages of the introduction of crops which have been tested and hold out some hope of being viable replacement crops for the opium poppy.
Throughout the report emphasis has been placed on the importance of carrying out applied research and trials where the work can be seen and the interest of the hill villages encouraged. There is no obstacle to allowing villagers to cultivate plots within experimental stations; such cultivation can easily be supervised by the station staff and such supervision is especially important when new crops are being introduced.
It is recommended that early action be taken to insulate the farmers against market fluctuations which are notorious in many cash crops. Coffee may be taken as an example. The following figures need no elaboration. Coffee-1978/1979 season-prices per ton guaranteed by firm of internationat repute before harvest: $US 2,480. World price at time of harvest: $US 2,780. Prices obtained on local market by UNFDAC at time of harvest: $US 3,375. Reputed price on London market five months after harvest: $US 5,955.
Experience in some other coffee producing countries would indicate that the establishment of a coffee board is an effective way to insulate farmers.
The practice of posting young university and college graduates to live and serve in key and satellite villages should be continued. Especial care should be taken to ensure that they receive full support from the headquarters office, and such support should continue to include the provision of radio communication, field equipment including mountain footwear, etc.
For the foreseeable future the possibility of granting individual land tenure should not be pursued. The great potential value of the land is becoming known as the true development value is demonstrated, and the pressure on possible hilltribe title holders to sell would be very great. Indeed, individual tenure is not an essential element of development. But village tenure, in the form of land-use permits, would be an encouragement. These land-use permits could be subject to special conditions.
Under the co-ordinating authority of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, the Royal Forestry Department could be invited to demarcate the land which could be used by the mountain people free from interference in the existing key and satellite villages and in any additional key and satellite villages which may be nominated in the future.
It is of immediate importance to ensure that the mountain people are allowed to use suitable land without let or hindrance now that they are beginning voluntarily to agree to stop growing the opium poppy and to grow replacement crops. All possible steps should be taken to facilitate new licit cultivation.
The work carried out in improving existing upland rice varieties and introducing improved varieties should now be evaluated. The International Rice Research Institute could be asked to field an evaluation team. The work carried out on maize and wheat should also be evaluated. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre could be invited to assist.
Consideration should now be given to establishing centres capable of handling crops on a commercial scale. At Doi Sam Mun, for example, the forthcoming harvest could justify the building of central concrete drying aprons, the installation of power driven pulpers and hullers, and provision of a thrashing machine.
A working party should be set up to explore the possibility of using solar and other prime sources of energy at Doi Sam Mun.
Training. The aim should continue to be to find and train suitable mountain people to stand on their own feet in the villages and subsequently to lead their co-villages to be self-sufficient, albeit on a very low level. Activities should include:
Cultivation of improved varieties of upland rice and other subsistence crops, cultivation of cash crops not only suitable for local growing conditions but also those that are viably marketable;
Basic village health care, by means of village health volunteers;
Education, including teaching of children by hilltribe teachers and teaching of adult literacy by hilltribe walking teachers.
Training facilities at Chang Khian should be expanded and the curricula should be broadened. Consideration should be given to the combined training at Chang Khian of village health volunteers and walking teachers for at least part of their basic training. The walking teachers could, for example, attend classes when the village health volunteers were receiving instruction in village hygiene.
The number of specialized courses, e.g., coffee cultivation, grafting, etc., at Chang Khian Station should be greatly increased.
Those parts of Chang Khian Station which are not needed in the foreseeable future by the Faculty of Agriculture, Chiengmai University, should be made available for research purposes to other universities, institutions and bilateral agencies. Some post-graduate training of extension agents could well be made the responsibility of such bodies.
Study tours as part of bilateral assistance should be arranged to Australia and New Zealand for hilltribe students who have passed the Chang Khian long course and who have served for at least a year as assistant extension agents in their own villages.
It is clear that in the past sufficient attention has not been paid to postharvest protection against infestation. There is a need for both long- and shortterm training courses. The Tropical Products Institute should also be invited to hold further training courses in Chiang Mai in Durable Crop Storage.
Early indications are that the courses for hill people in village health care are a step in the right direction. 7 Consideration should be given to running similar courses on a trial basis on animal husbandry.
Information of value is now available, as a result of Programme activities, in semi-annual reports and other published papers. It would be of assistance to future extension agents and others if the knowledge were now collated on a cropby-crop basis. The information would include sowing seasons, seed spacing, soil requirements, favourable altitudes, harvest times, diseases, harmful and beneficial insects, etc. The proposed collating could well be a sub-project of Chiengmai University or Karsetsat University financed from bilateral sources.
When collated, the basic information could be published in durable booklet form. The booklet should be of such a size that it could be conveniently carried in the pocket of a field jacket. Efforts should be made to include illustrations, either coloured photographs or pen-and-ink drawings. An additional advantage would be gained if, in addition to the master edition in the Thai language, editions could be made available in Karen, Hmong, Lisu and English.
In view of the great benefit derived from the audit inspection in Bangkok and Chlang Mai by a member of Internal Audit, Geneva, early in the life of the Programme, it is recommended that similar inspections be carried out at least during the formation stages of a programme. The greatest benefits from such audit inspections would be derived if the auditor were, as in the case of Thailand inspection, a senior officer with wide experience who would be willing to instruct personnel, including directors and project managers, in their essential duties and, as happened in Thailand, guide them to avoid unnecessary accounting, record keeping and other time-consuming financial exercises.
7. The training of village health volunteers under Treatment and Rehabilitation Project.
Programme directors and project managers should consider joining a leading press club in the area in which they work. It is wrong to believe that all press clubs are only for professional journalists. The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, for example, has some 40 associate members who earn their living in journalism or television and more than 300 members who include ambassadors, leading businessmen, international civil servants and government officials. Membership of such a press club provides an opportunity to make the work of a programme known to influential people.
In order to ensure that the momentum of the work is maintained and until such time as the Royal Thai Government, having examined all international, bilateral and other offers of assistance, will be in a position to publish detailed over-all development plans, it is recommended:
That the UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control makes available a minimum of one million U.S. dollars for each of the next three years;
That part of the funds be earmarked for the Treatment and Rehabilitation Project and the Drug Education and Information Project;
That other funds be made available for the Crop Replacement and Community Development Project to continue activities in the following key villages together with their satellites: Bari Phui, Khun Wang, Doi Sam Mun, Ban Luang;
That some of the satellite villages be "promoted" to key village status, e.g., Mae Sa Mai, and that these upgraded villages be the support for new satellite villages.
Thus, in addition to greater in-depth attention to disease control and other agricultural advancements in the key villages, there would also be expansion of the area coming under the influence of the project.
The funds proposed would be sufficient to start work in a completely new area. It is recommended that such an area should not be chosen in a part of the country where the opium poppy has been grown for decades-the existing key villages provide adequate research material-but rather where the hilltribes are opening up new areas, e.g., hillsides on the way to Om Koi. Work in such a new area would save many acres of prime forest land and would be a first step in containing the problem of the illicit cultivation of the opium poppy.
It will be observed that many important subjects have not been dealt with in this report Such subjects include, for example, the necessary physical infrastructure needs, packing plants, etc., and the social infrastructure - supervision of quality, control of marketing, etc. The construction of small dams, fire control and many other aspects of fundamental importance could be added to the list of such subjects. Again, the point is stressed that the Programme is a pilot programme only, with activities limited to 30 villages. This being so, it would be unseemly to make recommendations on aspects which lie well above the charter of the Programme and which are receiving urgent consideration by the Royal Thai Government.
In previous pages, the activities carried out, the achievements, and failures have been described.
The following is a brief summary:
The trust and co-operation of the hill villagers living in the key and satellite villages have been won;
Crops have been identified and grown which will bring the opium poppy cultivators an income equal to or better than the proceeds of the illicit sale of opium;
Markets have been found for some of the main replacement crops, e.g., coffee and red kidney beans, and the private sector is beginning to show a willingness to help in marketing other crops, e.g., Thai International Airways and the marketing of fresh vegetables;
The Royal Thai Government has accepted the achievements as models for greatly expanded programmes for the eradication of the opium poppy in the north of Thailand;
The Royal Thai Government has established the Narcotics Control Board to be responsible for all matters appertaining to narcotics;
The Royal Thai Government has already declared two areas-the key village of Ban Mae Tho and the Hui Tund Jaw - to be "opium free";
The Royal Thai Government's policy is that throughout the opium producing areas there shall be integrated rural development in successive watersheds.
In the opium producing villages, opium is kept in the households for their own consumption or to be. used as wages for addicted workers. It is also available in village stores which, are often owned by Hau traders. Villagers use opium as 'a drug for treatment of illnesses and as a psychoactive drug for anxiety and depression. It is also used for recreation of individuals on their own and for social activity of groups.
The UN/Thai Programme has also been concerned with the increasing illicit use of heroin in lowland areas throughout Thailand and although there are no known heroin addicts among the hilltribe people who live in the mountain villages. Even cases of heroin, addicted hill people who have worked in the lowlands are known.
There are two distinct problems: opium addiction in the highlands and heroin addiction in the lowlands.
The Work Plan for the Treatment and Rehabilitation Project, one of three which make up the UN/Thai Programme, sought to improve available treatment and rehabilitation facilities by providing material, research and training assistance.
In the long term, the project's objectives were (i) to improve personal and social functioning of drug dependent persons; (ii) to reduce the incidence of drug abuse; (iii) to stimulate the development of a flexible and dynamic system of preventive, therapeutic, rehabilitative, medical, vocational and social activity; and (iv) to foster continued planning and programme development.
In the initial stages it was planned that the project would operate under three headings: (i) project management and administration; (ii) assessment and consultation; and (iii) designated services, which consisted of (a) Thanyarak Hospital, (b) Bangkok Pre-admission and Aftercare Centre, (c) Medical Correctional Institution, (d) Pre-Mongkutklao Hospital, and (e) a Hill Tribe Programme with a treatment centre at Mae Ho and paramedical services at Chang Khian Station.
An ILO Rehabilitation Expert was appointed in February 1974, and a WHO Project Manager took up his duties in March 1974.
Priority was given to personnel training. Most valuable assistance was rendered by the Commissioner for Narcotics, Government of Hong Kong, and the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts in Hong Kong.
Both the WHO Project Manager and the ILO Rehabilitation Expert reached mutual understanding with the staff of Thanyarak Hospital. It was anticipated in the Work Plan that there would be legal provisions for compulsory detention of patients for a certain period. No such provisions were implemented, however, and all attempts at medium- or long-term rehabilitation depended on the possibilities of making the project agreeable to the patients.
In the early stages of the project great importance was attached to the building of a permanent treatment centre for the hilltribes. The plans developed by the Designing and Construction Division of the Ministry of Public Health, based on the report submitted by a consultant late in September 1973, had to be abandoned, partly for economic reasons. The site which had been selected was near the Public Welfare Centre at Mae Ho, some 17 km east of Mae Sariang.
The need to begin treatment services nevertheless remained, and the UNFDAC initiated a treatment programme in collaboration with the Mobile Medical Team from Thanyarak Hospital at the Public Welfare Centre and Mae Ho. The same type of operation was continued in 1974 and 1975. Very valuable experience for future work was gained through such mobile medical service operations. The WHO Project Manager left Thailand in January 1976, and the ILO Rehabilitation expert left in June 1976.
Based on an evaluation of the experience of the first two years and a meeting in Geneva early in 1976 to review the entire UN/Thai Programme, the objectives of the treatment rehabilitation sector were re-formulated to include: (i) development of information on the extent and nature of drug addiction in Thailand, (ii) identification, through evaluation studies, of effective low-cost treatment and health delivery methods, and (iii) development of data and experience to assist the Royal Thai Government in the planning and application of improved programmes throughout the country.
Following the re-formulation of Programme objectives, a WHO consultant visited Thailand early in 1976 to collaborate with country experts in developing a new work plan. This Work Plan assigned the in-country co-ordinating role to the Institute of Health Research, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, and made provision for the strengthening of the Institute's existing data management and laboratory facilities. Other programme components were conceived as specific applied research projects. In Bangkok, community-based treatment services were to provide facilities for treatment evaluation studies and for intensive case-finding, monitoring and intervention projects in high drug use target communities. In the hilltribe region, primary health care and drug dependence treatment services were introduced in conjunction with before/after case-finding surveys to determine the impact of programmes on drug use. The initial village survey was carried out in October 1976, and included the monitoring of control villages.
The active involvement of the highly regarded Institute of Health Research and the re-formulation of practical, clinical and epidemiological research projects led to early progress and outstanding development of future programme activities.
Under the Crop Replacement and Community Development Project, a health centre was built in the key village of Ban Phui. Ban Phui is a Hmong (Meo) village, and during the rainy season 44 km of dirt road, the only road to the village, are not passable. The base of the dirt road is some 110 km from Chiang Mai.
The Royal Thai Government stationed a senior male nurse at the health centre, and he rendered a service not only to the villagers of Ban Phui but also to other villagers who often travelled great distances on foot in search of medical treatment. Among those seeking attention were some who had been bitten by snakes and one male patient who had been injured by a wild bear.
The health centre was closed for several months because the health worker decided to leave. He was replaced by another health worker whose personality and service were not acceptable to the villages. It became, clear that to post health workers in the hilltribe villages - of which there are more than one thousand in Thailand - was not a feasible solution to the problem of providing primary health care at the village level.
In the Fourth National Economic Development Plan of the Royal Thai Government, a system of village health volunteers and health informers has been selected as the means of providing health care at the remote lowland village level. It seemed logical to attempt to use a similar scheme for the hilltribes.
In October 1976, Ban Phui was surveyed by a team from the Institute of Health Research, Chulalongkorn University. 9 The Institute devised a curriculum and training method for the training of village health volunteers to enable them to provide comprehensive primary health care. The Institute also directed the training and made an outstanding contribution in a unique experiment.
9. Please see Opium Use in a Meo Village published by the Institute of Health Research, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
A simple open-sided classroom and sleeping quarters were constructed from locally available materials next to the health centre in Ban Phui. The senior male nurse stationed at the health centre was the teacher. Five village health volunteers completed the training which lasted four months and ended in June 1978. These volunteers came from different villages and each had been selected by his co-villagers. The attendance rate was high; only one trainee missed two days during the whole course.
The result of the tests and the in-training observations were very satisfactory. For three trainees, who had a limited ability to read and write, the learning progressed smoothly. Two trainees who were illiterate had difficulty in retaining the lessons, and it was necessary to devise notes in caricature for them. The village health volunteer who lived in Ban Phui had access after training to the health centre when the senior male nurse was posted to another area.
An evaluation and community assessment will be published. The villagers of Ban Phui, who had the benefit of the services of the senior male nurse, expressed a preference for the village health volunteer. Among the reasons they gave for their choice were that the village health volunteer spoke their language and that he was always available in the village.
In 1979, a second course of training was held in a different area, Mae Tun, 10 but under the instruction of the same senior male nurse who had taught at Ban Phui. The second course did not have the benefit of close supervision by the Institute of Health Research. The provincial medical authority assumed responsibility under the guidance of the Institute.
In this report reference has been made to some methodological problems in the hilltribe areas and to the treatment centre in Chiang Mai. It would not be appropriate to comment on the other UNFDAC assisted project i.e., monitoring of drug trends in treatment and rehabilitation services in Thailand, development of methods for evaluation of treatment outcome, intensive case finding, and study of the knowledge and attitudes in general hospital admissions. Suffice to say that, whenever an opportunity arose, administrative and other support was always given with alacrity.
The Narcotics Treatment Centre for Hill Tribes was established, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, in some redecorated old wards on loan from the Chiang Mai Hospital 10, at the Faculty of Medicine, Chiengmai University. The centre has a capacity of 50 beds on two floors. The medical and nursing staff as well as social workers are provided on rotation from Thanyarak Hospital for Addicts situated at Pratumtani near Bangkok.
Patients were referred to the centre by a number of agencies including His Majesty's Hill Tribe Development Projects, extension agents working under Thai/ UNFDAC, the Hill Tribe Development and Relief Centres of the Department of Public Welfare, and the Border Patrol Police. Some patients made their own way to the centre. The existence of the services at the centre was broadcast from a radio station in Chiang Mai which carries programmes in many hill tribal languages.
On admission, patients' histories were taken: general health as well as drug taking history. The frequency, quantity and duration of opium use was noted. Whenever social workers could be made available, social histories were also taken, but unfortunately social workers were not present for considerable periods.
10. Mae Tun is some 15 miles south of Om Koi.
The service at the centre consisted of a ten-day detoxification process, using a scheme of mixture-medications with a decreasing dosage of tincture of opium. Tranquillizers and symptomatic treatments were also available.
Most of the financial support for the centre continues to be provided by the Royal Thai Government through staff provided by Thanyarak Hospital. Some financial support is provided by the UN/Thai Programme's treatment project, and this support will continue for a limited period. Negotiations will continue in an effort gradually to phase out UN/WHO support of the purely service components of the centre.
In accordance with the Work Plan, staff from the Institute of Health Research collect data on patients treated as part of the epidemiological studies established within the Work Plan. Because opium users come to the treatment centre from many areas of the northern highlands, and not just from the key and satellite villages, important data on the nature and extent of opium use and dependence throughout northern Thailand may be gathered.
There is no evidence at present of heroin use among the hilltribe people who remain in the highland villages. As well as providing data for the Institute of Health Research, the treatment centre is one of the few means of early detection of possible future heroin addiction in the mountain villages.
As the results of the research and field activities of the Institute of Health Research become known, the indications would seem to be that treatment and basic health care are effectively provided in the mountain villages.
The original treatment and rehabilitation work plan (1973), together with associated projects, called for the development of pilot projects in the major activities that comprise a comprehensive programme to manage the problem of drug abuse and drug dependence.
In the light of the experience gained during the past six years, it would seem that the original concept of tackling the problem of drug abuse by establishing projects run by different agencies was not sound: sufficient regard was not paid to the conditions prevailing in Thailand as a whole and especially in the mountain villages of the north.
Experience has shown that in the mountain areas an integrated community development programme is the course to follow. In the early days of the Programme, opium addicts were sent from the key and satellite villages for detoxification to the UN/WHO health centre in Chiang Mai. While at the centre many patients received treatment for sundry ailments, treatment they had little hope of receiving if they had not been admitted as opium addicts. In effect it meant that a villager needing hospital treatment was more likely to receive treatment if he were an addict.
Moreover, the opium producing villages with opium dependent persons who were under the crop replacement project were receiving assistance to improve living standards at the village level, e.g., water supplies, schools, etc. These villages were inhabited by the Hmong, Karen, Lahu and Lisu hilltribes. Villages in the same area, but at a lower altitude and occupied by northern Thais, were not opium producing and did not have opium dependent persons and hence were not receiving aid under the Programme. The northern Thais asked why those villages which were breaking the law by producing opium received assistance while they, who were law abiding, were not receiving help.
With hindsight, it can be seen that the opium addict was receiving better treatment than his non-addicted co-villagers and that the opium producing villages faced a finer future than their law-abiding neighbouring villages. While the non-addicted villagers raised no protest to the hospital treatment given to the opium smokers, there was a strong reaction from the northern Thais to the more favourable assistance given to opium producing hilltribes. Seeds of discontent and friction were being sown.
It is clear that the whole of the north of Thailand cannot benefit from integrated rural development at the same time-cost and manpower shortage rule out such action-but the integrated development of watersheds as funds become available would seem to be the course to follow.
It was found that primary health care is a practical approach to making essential health care accessible to hilltribe families and individuals in anacceptable way with their full participation. No difficulties have been experienced in getting the mountain people to accept treatment and medicines, and the people have willingly helped in health surveys.
There is however a third element-primary health care must also be accessible in an affordable way, bearing in mind that the family income of some hilltribe families, especially among the Karen, is so low that they are unable to afford to buy aspirins. Such families have a knowledge of, and use, medicinal plants. But it should be appreciated that there will be a continuing medical use of opium as an analgesic and as a remedy for a variety of illnesses until such time as alternative medical facilities are available and obtainable.
The headquarters office of the Programme in Bangkok provided administrative support to the Treatment and Rehabilitation Project throughout the period under review. When the Institute of Health Research agreed to play a major role, the headquarters office was able to render additional assistance, especially in procurement activities. WHO allowed the Programme office to make local purchases of much of the equipment required for a new laboratory established at the Institute. Equipment sent from abroad was cleared through the Customs Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Transport and other equipment on the inventories of other projects in the Programme were made available, especially in the early stages of the Institute's activities, to ensure rapid progress. Every effort was made by the administrative supporting staff to ensure that the professional staff at the Institute could devote the maximum time to their specialized activities.
Consideration should be given to the training of village health volunteers for service not only in opium related villages but also in the watershed-by-watershed integrated rural development programme of the Royal Thai Government.
Such training as proposed above should be under the general direction of the Institute of Health Research, but the management of the courses and the subsequent service rendered by the village health volunteers should be the responsibility of the provincial health authorities.
The pattern set by the Institute of Health Research, whereby the village health volunteers reside in the community they are serving and are chosen by it, should continue. In this way the volunteers understand the real health needs of the communities they serve and gain the confidence of the people.
Because some families are so poor that they cannot buy even the most inexpensive medicines, and because the provision of free medicines is beyond national financial resources, a medicinal-plant project should be established as a matter of urgency. The project would have three aims: (i) to investigate and test medicinal plants which already grow in the highlands; (ii) to find additional beneficial plants being grown in other countries; and (iii) to devise a curriculum and training method in the use of medicinal plants to be included in training courses for village health volunteers.
In the field of rehabilitation, few recommendations are made in this report simply because experience so far gained in Thailand has not indicated any tested paths to follow. At the end of Phase I, the Handicrafts Project, which has formed a part of the Crop Replacement and Community Development Project, will be the responsibility of the Public Welfare Department. With possible assistance from ILO and/or UNIDO it might well be possible for people under the care of the Department, and others, to be trained to make the packing boxes needed by the Handicrafts Project instead of, as at present, buying the packing boxes on the open market. Indeed, it should be possible to go one stage further and to train people to make the boxes needed for jewel cases, to fit the rings on key-ring holders, etc. The embroidery, which is the main attraction on such handicrafts, is worked by the hilltribe women, but the articles are completed in industrial workshops in Chiang Mai.
The following reports, which appertain to the work of the Programme, have been prepared at the Institute of Health Research.
New Work Plan for the Treatment and Research Component, July 1976;
Drug Dependence Research Programme, January-June 1977;
The Hill Tribes of Thailand; Their Opium Use and Addiction, August 1977; Drug Dependence in Thailand, 1977;
Opium Use in a Meo Village of Thailand, 1977;
Au Interpretative Epidemiology of Drug Dependence in Thailand, May 1978;
Overview of Drug Dependence Treatment in Thailand, May 1978;
Drug Dependence in Three Teacher Colleges, July 1978;
Socio-Economic Realities and Their Implications in the Treatment of Drug Dependent Persons, September 1978;
Primary Health Care in the Hill Tribe Villages, October 1978;
Analysis of Opiates in Body Fluid: Urinary Excretion Profile, November 1978;
Evaluation of Treatment Outcome: the Buddhist Treatment Center, Tam Kraborg, 1978;
Hill Tribal Opium Addicts: A Retrospective Study of 1,382 Patients, 1978;
Preliminary Report of Health Care Delivery Research; Primary Health Care at Tambon Mae Tuen, 1979;
1980-1984 Work Plan, 1979.
Attention is also invited to the United Nations Bulletin on Narcotics, Volume XXX, No. 2, April-June, 1978: "The Hilltribes of Thailand, Their Opium Use and Addiction", by Charas Suwanwela, Vichai Poshyachinda, Prida Tasanapradit, and Ayut Dharmkrong-At.
"In education and information concerning the drugs of abuse and their effect on individuals and society, attention will be directed to the utilization of education facilities, including the mass media, particularly for the benefit of the younger elements of the population" was stated in the UN/Thai Basic Agreement on 7 December 1971.
Education and information programmes on the consequences of drug abuse had been features of the Royal Thai Government's anti-narcotics campaign for many years before the UN/Thai Programme began to be implemented. The United Nations project proposals envisaged on a very modest scale the supply of equipment and services to facilitate a wider use of educational facilities, including the mass media, for the purpose of conveying to the public, and particularly young people, authoritative information on the drugs of abuse and their effect on health.
The amount of money earmarked for the Narcotics Education and Information Project in the summary of project budgets covering the UNFDAC contribution was $US 33,000 out of a total of $US 2,084,400 for the whole of the Programme. In the early years of the Programme's implementation, the other two projects, crop replacement and community development and treatment and rehabilitation were given priority. Some small exercises were assisted financially. One was originated by Chulalongkorn, Ramkhamhaeng, and Thammasat University students who prepared and erected throughout Bangkok large posters giving warnings against the illicit use of opium and heroin.
In 1975 two fellowships were financed by the Programme and two senior government officials were enabled to make study-tours in Thailand, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and the Philippines. One of the officials was a supervisor in the Department of General Education and the other a police lieutenant-colonel from the Central Bureau of Narcotics. 11
In February 1976, the United Nations and the Royal Thai Government signed a memorandum of understanding making provision for the following activities: (i) functional literacy; (ii) helping the northern hilltribe people to acquire knowledge of the Thai language; (iii) teaching the northern hilltribe people elementary health and hygiene; and (iv) dangers of drug abuse.
The information gained by the fellowship holders was put to good use in carrying out the directions set out in the memorandum of understanding. With the support of the manager and other personnel of the Crop Replacement and Community Development Project, the Ministry of Education initiated projects in the key villages. The villagers themselves built primitive rooms in which functional literacy classes are held in the evenings after the villagers return from their fields. The importance of functional literacy has been well understood for many years by the mountain people; but now that the replacement crops are attracting lowland Thai buyers and others to their villages they appreciate the absolute necessity of being able to weigh accurately and of keeping elementary accounts.
11. Report on Study-Tour on Drug Education by Miss Somnuck Rodprasert and Po1. Lt.-Col. Phairoj Siriroj, Thailand.
In addition to making the classrooms, the villagers also made the desks and seats-albeit primitive but nevertheless functional and to their liking. The assistance needed from the Programme was minimal: e.g., generators for lighting in the classrooms.
The Ministry of Education trained mountain people to become walking teachers, and the services of these teachers have also won the support of hilltribe men and women.
The Programme's greatest contribution to work in the educational field has been the financial support which has been given to the preparation and printing of textbooks to assist the walking teachers. The Ministry of Education has devoted much care to the preparation of a textbook for the hilltribe people of all ages. The first editions were subject to strict evaluation, and in the light of experience outstanding textbooks have been published. The books cover the four requirements laid down in the memorandum of understanding of 1976. An indication of the careful planning is illustrated by the fact that the most recent textbook is loose-leaf. This format was selected because it was believed pupils would be daunted if they were given the whole book of 215 pages at the first lesson. Rather, the teachers are able to give the lesson sheets on a lesson-by-lesson basis.
The progress so far made and the eager acceptance by the mountain people of the assistance offered by the walking teachers clearly warrants more international support on a continuing long-term basis.
The need for preventive education in the lowlands of Thailand is indeed great. Estimates of the number of opiate addicts in Bangkok and other large cities vary between 300,000 and 400,000.
The Programme has been able to render assistance to the Ministry of Education in the field of preventive education through the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, especially in providing funds to help finance workshops and seminars. There is in Thailand a growing realization of the dangerous implications of drug related problems.
With assistance from UNESCO the Programme initiated action in three key fields: (i) prevention education, especially the planning thereof; (ii) school broadcasting with particular emphasis on a greater use of the tribal broadcasting station in Chiang Mai; and (iii) literacy and post literacy activities.
UNESCO has recently agreed to make available the services of two consultants-one in basic literacy training and one in broadcasting-whose knowledge and experience should help to guide the unbounded enthusiasm of the members of the Ministry of Education whose duties take them among the hilltribe people.
There is in Chiang Mai a powerful radio station, and members of its staff are able to broadcast in the main languages spoken by the mountain people living in northwest Thailand. With some financial assistance, it should be possible to increase broadcasting hours devoted to school broadcasts designed for children in the hilltribe villages and to evening listening for adults. A survey might well show that the number of adults who use their transistor radios to listen while working in the fields is sufficient to increase daytime broadcasts in the field of adult literacy. Hence UNESCO's offer of help in planning broadcasting and literacy projects is especially opportune.
UNESCO did not have sufficient funds to support financially consultants to advise on preventive education planning. The Fund for Drug Abuse Control has, however, indicated that financial help could well be made available to pay for such a consultant.
The Ministry of Education and the Office of the Narcotics Control Board have shown what great progress can be made with moderate outside support, and they are clearly demonstrating that further financial assistance from outside sources is fully justified.
In view of the outstanding benefits derived by the Ministry of Education from the fellowships funded by the Programme, it is recommended that favourable consideration be given to future requests for funds for fellowships.
The progress made by the walking teachers in the Programme villages would indicate that the walking teacher project is pioneering on the right course. It is felt that two of the leaders of the walking teacher project would benefit from a study tour in Papua New Guinea.
Full use is not at present being made for the benefit of adult literacy and preventive education of the broadcasting and television facilities available in Thailand and the training facilities available under the United Nations system outside Thailand. The possibilities of assistance from the Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development in Kuala Lumpur should be explored. Hilltribesmen who have been trained as walking teachers should be considered as candidates together with staff members of the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education and the Public Welfare Department.
The modest outlays on textbooks and other teaching aids have resulted in the introduction into many villages of well-planned books. Full advantage has been taken of the low cost of printing in Thailand and the speed with which orders are executed. It is strongly recommended that financial assistance should continue to be provided by the Programme towards the cost of the provision of textbooks and other teaching aids.
Project for Crop Replacement and Community Development: Chang Khian Highland Development and Training Station (1973) by Itzchak Lanir.
Project for Crop Replacement and Community Development (Water Supply and Irrigation System): Chang Khian Highland Development and Training Station (1973) by A. Harpaz. Report of Vegetable and Flower Seed Production; Consultant (1974) by Robert C. Tang. Coffee Production by Pitak Apasiripol.
Vegetable Seed Production Trials, Vegetable and Field Crop Trials, Trials of Medicinal and Condiment Plants, Herb and Flower Seeds Production Trials (1975) by LIN (HAO-HSIUNG) Report of an Independent Evaluation Team (1975).
Strawberries: Marketing Report by Dusit Salakshana.
New Work Plan for the Treatment and Research Component of the UNFDAC/THAI Programme for Drug Abuse Control (1976).
Crop Replacement and Community Development (Water Supply and Irrigation System) Chang Khian Highland Development and Training Station (1976) by A. Harpaz.
Coffee Production Report No. 1 and No. 2 (1977) by E.T. Fukunaga.
Marketing: Issue No. 1 First Draft (1978).
Study Tour of Selected Agricultural Areas of India (1978) by R.S. Mann.
An Approach to Beekeeping in Thailand: Findings and Recommendations of Keeping the Indian Honeybee, Apis cevana indica (1978) by G. Deiser.
Daily Diary, Bangkok Headquarters Office, 24 February 1972-29 June 1979.
UN/Thai Programme for Drug Abuse Control, Semi-Annual Progress Reports Nos. 1-11.