‘Vegetables are expensive these days,’ says Supapohn. She lives in a village called Ruammit Pattana, a rural community of around 20 families in Chiang Rai Province, near the borders with Myanmar and Laos.
Supapohn is part of the Yellow Lahu, traditionally a semi-nomadic people group who usually live in remote mountains. All this changed for her community when the Thai government relocated them out of the state-owned forest to a small plot of land in the foothills. But they still do not own the land and there’s not enough room to farm to support their families.
‘Our family raises pigs and grows vegetables,’ says Supapohn, who lives with her husband and children. She has accepted the move from the mountains because life there was tough. ‘We lived very far from here. There was no electricity and the road in the rainy season was difficult to travel on. It was difficult to take sick people to the hospital and educating our children was hard.’
But life is a challenge in Ruammit Pattana too. Despite their best efforts in farming and taking low-paid jobs in the city, the costs of daily goods and food are increasing. They needed a new initiative to turn things around. The answer was somewhat unexpected…