Products sold under Mae Fah Luang project at Tachileik border town fetch millions

Local vendors of fruit, vegetables and other crops at the Tachileik border town have received more than THB1 million in sales to buyers across the border in Thailand this year so far, U Kham Aung, director for Myanmar Programmes under the Mae Fah Luang project told The Myanmar Times this month.

Home-grown products like coffee, white and black sesame, beans, corn, bark, potato, garlic, bananas, paddy, sticky rice, brooms and cane-fruits are in demand near the border as a result of the Mae Fah Luang project, a Thai non—profit project conducted in cooperation with Myanmar.

According to data provided by the Mae Fah Luang project, Myanmar received more than THB4 million in 2016 and more than THB1 million from border town sales so far this year.

The project term is five years and aimed to influence 12,000 people from 2,570 homes across 56 villages in Tachileik township of Eastern Shan. The Thai government had committed up to THB350 million in support of the project, which ended last month.

“The main challenge is language. There are four ethnicities in this project. Ahka ethnic people speak their own language. Shan and Wa also speak their own language. Therefore, we had to use interpreters. The other challenge is that there was no project here before. The people do not trust us and are also frightened by the military and rebels. It took more than one year for the locals to trust us,” he said.

“Under our long term development project, the people here can continuously sell their fruits and other products to Thailand. We have taught them how to plant mushrooms make baskets and even noodles.The noodle-making business is very successful and there is a lot of demand,” he said.

The program is run by the drug controlling associations of Thailand and Myanmar in an attempt to encourage the local ethnic people in Shan State to make a living and avoid the use of drugs which is pervasive in the area. Shan State is the poorest state in Myanmar.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs proposed to carry out another project near Tachileik. The Ministry of Border Affairs also proposed to conduct a similar project in Pinlaung,another town in eastern Shan State. Both are promised orally,” U Kham Aung told The Myanmar Times.

Source: Myanmar Times

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