A New High: Indigenous Thai Farmers Swap Opium For Coffee, Land

From: reuters.com

DOI TUNG, Thailand (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Somchai Sophonsookpaiboon does not remember much about his younger years, except that they were spent in an opium haze.

It’s how all the men in his mountain village on the Thai-Myanmar border spent their time. Stateless, with little access to education, jobs or healthcare, their only options were trading opium or walking to the nearest town for odd jobs.

Somchai’s life turned around after the late Princess Srinagarindra, grandmother of Thailand’s current king, set up a development project in 1988 in Doi Tung in Chiang Rai, once part of Southeast Asia’s “Golden Triangle” notorious for trafficking of drugs, people and arms.

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