Achievement Announcement
of
Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation
on the Occasion of 1988 Ramon Magsaysay Awards
Presented to The Royal Project

The Royal Project to Thailand has been elected to receive the 1988 Ramon Magsaysay Award for 
International Understanding.
	The Royal Project is recognized for demonstration through a concerted national and international effort in 
northern Thailand that temperate-climate cash crops offer hill tribes a viable alternative to the opium poppy.


For centuries Southeast Asia's diverse and independent hill peoples lived well by
 But rising pressure 
for land in modern times destroyed the natural equilibrium of shifting cultivation.  The forest began to die.  This 
brought drough and floods to the plains, and poverty to the hills.  Hard-pressd, hill people in northern Thailand and 
neighboring Burma and Laos turned to the poppy.
By the late 1960s northern Thailand alone was producing 150 
tons of opium a year.
	In 1969, Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej Maharaja hearkened to the crisis.  He sat in motion a 
program to bring worthy livelihoods to Thailand's hill tribesmen, and to arrest the destruction of precious forests and 
watersheds.  This became the Royal Project. His Majesty appointed Prince Bhisatej Rajani to supervise the Project.  For research and essential 
admintistrative services he called upon Kastsart University. It soon set up the Project's pioneering experiment station 
at Ang Khang, high in Chiang Mai Province. Today in six mountain stations researchers test hundreds of temperate-climate fruit trees and vegetables 
for their potential as cash crops.  Volunteers from universities and government agencies then introduce successful 
ones to villagers in demonstration centers throughout the highlands.



Nearly 300 upland villages benefit directly from the Royal Project, which is also introducing schools, 
cooperatives, rice banks and primary medical services.
	In the Royal Project's orchards and gardens, apricot trees donated by Japan grow alongside peaches and 
plums from North America, pears and persimmons from Taiwan,

apples from Israel and kiwi fruits from New Zealand.  
For 15 years technicians from Taiwan have volunteered their practical skills; fruit tree expert C.Y. Sung chose the Ang 
Khang site for the first research station and in so well-known there villagers call him Papa Sung.
The United States 
and agencies of the United Nations have provided critical funding and assistance.  In ways large and small, so have 
dozens of other countries and international organizations.
	The Royal Project buys produce from hill farmers, then grades packages and markets it.  Once imported 
luxuries, many temperate-climate fruits and vegetables are now readily available to Thai consumers,   The Project also 
processes jams and wines, frozen strawberies, canned vegetables and dired fruits and flowers for export.  It is 
turning a profit.
	So are its farmers.  These days when His Majesty the King makes his yearly visit to Project sites he 
withnesses a transformation.  One-time poppy farmers are turning to more profitable crops. They are becoming 
vegetable, fruit and coffee growers.  Opium cultivation has declined by 85 %.
	Through international cooperation and high national commitment, the Royal Project is helping to reduce the 
workd supply of illicit drugs.  It is also moving highlanders toward a new day of stability and prosperity

 

Thai version

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