Farmers squeezed by ‘reclaim forestland’ campaign

Many people’s hearts sink every time they see news photos about treeless mountains in once-verdant Nan province or mask-wearing people in frequently hazy Chiang Mai. “We used to have our own land plots and earned a living as farmers – but not anymore,” lamented a middle-aged woman belonging to the Dara-ang ethnic group in Mae Jon village in Chiang Mai’s Chiang Dao district. The woman spoke on condition of anonymity.  Most villagers in Mae Jon grow longan, mango and corn, and many rarely leave their hometown because they do not have Thai citizenship. While they are allowed to stay in the village, they need to seek prior permission for any trip outside its borders.

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