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Chiang Rai Project

Location: Chiang Rai, Thailand
Date: 2006-2010


  1. plant 26,000 jatropha trees
  2. encourage use of alternative fuels
  3. provide income for 31 hilltribefamilies

Project Overview

PATT Foundation is funding part of the following project undertaken by the Khom Loy Development Foundation in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The total project area will cover 80 rai (about 32,000 jatropha trees), however, the portion PATT will fund is 65 rai, about 26,000 trees – which through this sustainable biodiesel project, will contribute towards building the capacity of local hill tribe communities to direct their own future. The long term development goal of this project is to provide sufficient local income and job opportunities for the hilltribe people of Mae Yao sub-district and at the same time, serve Thailand’s initiative to provide 2M litres/day of biodiesel fuel by 2012, reforest depleted sections of jungle and cut atmospheric CO2 levels.

Project Details

Primary objectives are to:

  • Provide a sustainable cash income for 31 families
  • Assist in providing an alternate, more environmentally friendly source of diesel
  • Reduce atmospheric CO2 through planting trees
  • Stimulate interest in growing Jatropha as both a source of income and as an alternative to traditional diesel.

Other than the general environmental benefits to be gained by planting trees and sequestering carbon, the main reason for this project was the provision of a source of income for the hilltribes of Northern Thailand. An estimated 500,000 people of tribal minority live on the Burmese-Thai borders. Less than 50% have Thai ID, which restricts their travel and work rights, and denies them access to Thai education and health services. Their previously limited land rights are now being terminated as well, while the Government seeks to create a national forest.

The tribes have negotiated a guaranteed purchase of the fruit produced by the jatropha tree for conversion into biodiesel and fertilizer. The income from these trees shall help enable members of the tribes to provide food, shelter, education and healthcare for them and their families. The project will lead to two types of change: environmental and economic. Environmental change will come about because the planting site is formerly forest, which has previously been cleared for crop growing. By replanting the forest, soil erosion will be lowered, and water will be released into the river system more slowly, reducing the risk of floods. Increased ground cover will also encourage flora and fauna to flourish. Economic change will be made, as described above, by the additional income generated by harvesting and selling the crop from the trees, and using the money to supplement income from casual labouring.

This project encompasses seven villages in the Mae Yao sub-district: Kwae Wua Dam Village, Gang Luang Nawk Village, Ruammit Village, Apa Pattana Village, Adu Mai Village, Huay Mae Sai Village, and Bukah Village.

From Caleb Stewart, Managing Director, Khom Loy Development Foundation

PATT’s gracious grant has allowed the Khom Loy Development Foundation to provide disadvantaged Akha, Lahu and Karen hilltribe villagers with the opportunity to plant and care for over 26,000 bio-diesel producing Jatropha trees in deforested segments of the highlands in Chiangrai. In addition to the inherent environmental benefits of reforestation these trees will also provide a much needed consistent cash income to the hilltribe villagers who planted them.”

Project Partner:


This project is supported by:

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