Dr Weerachai Nanakorn will lead a Siam Society study trip to the Royal Projects at Doi Ang Khang and Huai Hong Khrai as well as the small Chiang Mai village of Mae Kampong from January 5 to 7.
The Royal Agricultural Station Ang Khang is located in Fang district and is spread over some 2,000 rai. Within the station compound are nine villages inhabited by four different minority groups – Thai Yai, Black Lahu, Palong and Chinese Yunnanese.
The station is designed for conducting experiments on possible temperate plants to be grown in Thailand as cash substitutes for opium poppy. In 1969, His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej gave his private funds to establish the Royal Project Foundation under the directorship of HSH Bhisadej Rajani as the Chairman of Royal Project. The station mainly researches the temperate fruit, exotic flowers and vegetables that can be cultivated to provide a sustainable form of income for the hilltribes.
Today, almost 50 years on, the valley is a thriving tourist attraction, replete with beautiful gardens and fruit orchards. The project produces a wide variety of temperate fruits including Chinese peaches, Chinese pears, persimmon, plums, grapes, apricots, strawberries, passion fruit, figs, kiwi fruit and pomegranates.
Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Centre is located in Doi Saket District and was established in 1982 under King Bhumibol’s initiative and driven largely as a result of drought and forest fires caused by extensive forest destruction and poaching. The centre is located in the Pa Khun Mae Kuang National Park, a mountainous and forested region that is heavily degraded where the study centre is located. Studies at the centre encompass watershed development as an appropriate model with forest areas designated for planting three types of forest with four applications: economic crops, fruit trees and firewood, soil conservation and watershed area to engender moisture and recover the degraded area.
The beautiful village of Mae Kampong in Mae On district has long been a source of enjoyment and inspiration to not only the locals that happily reside there, but also to fortunate visitors from around the world. Located just a short distance from the city of Chiang Mai – visitors to Mae Kampong will instantly feel they have stepped back in time, with traditional teak houses dotting the nearby mountains.
Source - The Nation