Once they survived by cultivating opium. Now most of the
hill tribes who did so are supporting their families by growing other crops
through the Nong Hoi Royal Project.
for chemical contamination in vegetables, part of the control measures for
Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) standard.
It is quite an achievement that 25 percent of Doi Kham
crops are produced by the project in Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim district. The
former hill tribe poppy farmers are now employed by the Royal Project, and
have turned it into a new agro-tourism and eco-tourism site.
vegetable plantation in the highland development project.
Situated in Nong Hoi Kao village in tambon Mae Raem, it
takes about 45 minutes via the Chiang Mai-Fang Highway (Highway107). After
17 km, turn left onto the Mae Rim-Samoeng (Highway1096) and continue for 15
km. Then take the paved road on the right (between km 14-15) and continue
for 7 km.
the terrace farming, some areas are covered with plastic.
The project encompasses seven villages, 358 households
and 2,883 inhabitants - mostly Hmong, Lisu, Chinese Haw and local people.
The Nong Hoi Royal Project was initiated by HM the King
in 1969 when he visited the area. He thought of establishing a program to
create sustainable occupations for the villagers who mostly conducted
slash-and-burn farming and cultivated opium. In 1974, His Serene Highness
Prince Bhisadej Rajani, chairman of the Royal Project Foundation, received a
royal dictate to establish a center at Nong Hoi village to replace opium
with cash crops.
of the Hmong hill tribes who have joined the project will bring their own
produce to sell to the Royal Project, which will market it further.
The Royal Project has planted 53 strains of vegetable, of
which sweet cabbage, cabbage, Petsai Chinese cabbage, and spinach are the
best-sellers, as well as fruit.
The project has 170 members, who last year received 19.5
million baht from a total revenue of 22.7 million baht raised by the sale of
1.74 million kg of crops.
From this royally initiated project, each member family
can earn about 125,000 baht a year, and it aims to increase their annual
income to 200,000 baht by 2006.
staff of the Royal Project, Nong Hoi station, selecting top grade cabbages.
At present, the project is running a demonstration
plantation of Chinese tea, kiwi, plums, persimmon, strawberries and cab
gooseberries as well as various herbs like rosemary, mint, lemon balm,
chamomile, lavender and peppermint.
All the produce passes the Good Agricultural Practice
(GAP) standard to be promoted as organic crops.
hill tribes in the Nong Hoi development project.
The project does not restrict itself to farming:
community groups to manage water distribution within communities, an
anti-drugs group for youth that provides recreation, sport and jobs (like
the local young guides project), a housewives’ group to produce
handicrafts, a cooperative to sell fertilizer to community members are other
examples of the Royal Project’s support network for surrounding
working in the Chinese kale garden.
A school providing education up to Pathos 6 (Grade 6) and
a public primary health service are also provided.
At the project site, there are also four interesting
eco-tourism routes that lead visitors to experience the Hmong lifestyle.
These routes are “Mon Long” situated 1,450 meters above sea level and 3
km from the center, “Mon Doi” situated on High Mountain near the Nong
Hoi Mai village and 3 km from the center. Along the way, terrace farming can
be observed and the scenery is very attractive during the winter and raining
seasons. “Ban Sam Lung” is the third route, just 1 km from the center;
along this route, the scenery of the Ban Mae SA Mai, a botanic garden and
Pong Yang can be seen. Mae Chi-Pang Hay route is the fourth, lying in the
south of tambon Mae Raem, and 9 km from the center. Along this route, the
local lifestyle, a nursery plantation, the Wang Hang waterfall and Tad Mock
waterfall can be experienced. The most interesting part on this route is the
New Year celebrations of the Hmong. Accommodation and camping at reasonable
prices for large groups and families are available.
grown using hydroponics, which is now a popular agricultural method.
If interested, please contact the Tourism Activity
Department of the Nong Hoi Royal Project at 0-5328-1238-40 ext 105 or visit