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Chapter 4 - Impacts and lessons

4.1 Project outcome: the post-implementation project area

It is clear from the review of project implementation made in Chapter 3 that the project implementors merit a high grade for project administration. The project had four components: forest rehabilitation, socio-economic development, project staff development, and infrastructural development. All activities scheduled under each component were executed and the target achievement performance for each activity was, by and large, excellent. However, the project must be judged by the extent to which its forestry and socio-economic objectives were met. Were the design and implementation of the project such that they brought about marked improvements in the project area from the point of view of both the forest environment and the condition of the people?

The best way to answer the question and to judge the impacts of the project is to consider the changes that have taken place in the project area since 1981.

4.2 The natural environment

The reforestation of 1 163 ha of degraded forestland reported in Chapter 3 has considerably improved conditions in the project area. Land use for tree plantations or for cropping in the project area was planned on the basis of soil suitability studies and on the basis of ecological considerations such as watershed protection. The objective was the achievement of a land use pattern which was acceptable from both forestry and socio-economic development perspectives. As noted previously, there was considerable resistance by the people to the implementation of this plan, especially in the first years of the project. In most cases, the resistance was gradually overcome. Although a new physical survey would be required to fully document progress, the economic analysis of agricultural enterprise that follows shows clearly that much has been achieved in the improvement of land use in the project area. However, as late as 1986 there were still farmers laying claim to and cropping agriculturally marginal land earmarked for reforestation. More time is needed to convince all farmers so that both tree plantation and agricultural development can profitably proceed according to plan.

4.3 The project area society

The sections that follow describe the 1986 project area society as reflected by socio-economic sample surveys and studies conducted in late 1985 and 1986, complemented by the writer's own observations during visits to the project area in mid-1986. The most frequent references are to the economic survey of 300 households in 16 villages (Wuthipol Haomuangkaew, 1986), the 40 household economic survey (RESEARCH 1986), and the social survey of 277 households in 20 villages (Thanawadee Boonlue, 1986).

No formal census of the project area population was taken but the number of households is estimated to have increased by 267 to about 1 560 households. Given the mean household size of 5.3 members supplied by the economic survey (down from 6.7 members in 1981), the total population then would be about 8 145 persons. The demographic characteristics of this population were not very different from those noted for 1981. The average age of the head of household was 41 and there was naturally a slight increase in the 60 and older age group. On average, three of the five household members were of labour force age. The number of children per family had dropped from a mean of 4.7 in 1981 to 4.1 in 1985.

The educational level of heads of households and their spouses as regards formal schooling remained substantially unchanged with 13 percent of the former and 20.2 percent of the latter never having attended school and the remainder having only four years or less of elementary schooling. The social survey report provides no information on the educational status of other household members of the sample but as several new schools had been opened since 1981 and as most schools teach the full six years of the elementary cycle, one can assume that the younger generation was getting more education than had its parents. An FAO-commissioned nutrition study reporting on the nine elementary schools in the project implementation area in 1985 indicates that there were 349 pupils in grade 1 and 195 pupils in grade 6. It should also be noted that although adults had not completed much formal education, many had taken advantage of non-formal educational opportunities provided by the project to acquire a wide range of new vocational skills.

The pattern of villages was less amorphous than that reported earlier as resulting from spontaneous or planned consolidation of scattered homesteads into cluster villages, mostly in relation to new physical infrastructure development such as roads and weirs. Although the population Increased only slightly, the number of such concentrations almost doubled since 1981. However, when the new forest villages were visited in mid-1986, it was found that in many cases, the families actually living in the new settlements were only a part of the total village administrative unit population. The others lived scattered throughout the village territory.

Many of the new villages were developing service infrastructures and institutions catering to the needs of the community as a whole. This development, brought about mainly as a result of villager initiative, revealed the extent to which the transition to the status of a normal Thai rural community was being achieved. Villagers began building simple temples at such a rate that religious authorities had to moderate their ardor as there were not enough people to support clergy in all desired locations. There were nine elementary schools In the project implementation area in 1985. For two of these (in Khlong Makka Hin and Khlong Hin Rong villages), the school houses were built at the initiative and expense of the villagers themselves who also contacted the Government authorities to provide a teaching staff for them. These same authorities were also being petitioned to provide a secondary school in the area. Many of the villages also had small shops selling household necessities, and food stands providing places for villagers to meet and socialize.

The earlier studies had commented on the lack of cohesiveness and of community spirit of the 1981 population in the project area, a situation that was attributed to the fact that most were recent migrants from different villages and consequently viewed one another as strangers. Although project staff and villagers continued to indicate that the population was individualistic, untrusting and lacking in community spirit, the examples of community action in relation to school and temple building indicate that community consciousness was not lacking. There are other examples. Traditional cooperative labour-exchange groups for crop planting and harvesting were found to operate in some of the villages visited. The formation of joint liability groups for the purpose of obtaining agricultural credit described in Chapter 2 necessitated a high degree of mutual trust among members.

As a result of road development and the availability of public transportation, communications within the area and with the outside had vastly improved. Although access to some more remote communities remained difficult and travel during the rainy season was still a problem, there was much more mobility than in the past. It was easier for the villagers to travel to other villages and to the market towns, and more outsiders came into the villages.

The physical living conditions, at least of the households living ín the new forest villages., had improved as the villages were well planned by RFD architects and properly landscaped. Complaints were still heard about water shortages due to problems with the water reservoirs but the capacity to store rain water had increased as the villagers were now producing their own cement water storage jars. The percentage of households having toilets had risen from less than 10 percent to about 25 percent. Most were water-sealed cesspool toilets.

In 1985, FAO undertook a systematic survey of the food intake of 484 families in the project area. The major dietary components were found to be rice, fermented fish, and the three vegetables which grow well, leucaena, basil and morning glory, along with bananas, oranges and papaya. Pork lard or vegetable oil was used frequently to fry foods. Many other foods were consumed on a less than daily basis, including fresh fish, eggs and, surprisingly, bread. Child nutrition was still Inadequate, however; according to the records of the medical team working in the area in 1984, almost 75 percent of the toddlers treated suffered from some degree of malnutrition and anaemia was common among children.

According to the same records, common ailments among children were bronchitis, anaemia and typhoid. Among adults, the common ailments were headache, backache, peptic ulcer, otitis media, chronic eczema, acute tonsillitis, abdominal and chest pain, muscle pain, insomnia, etc. Significantly, there is no mention of malaria which was common in 1981.

As noted earlier, a primary health care system had been operating in the project are since mid-1984. There was also much greater use made of sub-district health stations, now three in number, mainly because In the past they could only be reached with great difficulty because of lack of roads.

In 1981, in most cases, the population resorted to self-treatment when illness struck, but according to the social survey report, self-treatment was practiced in only 17 percent of the cases in 1985. The rest received professional treatment either at the health stations or at hospitals outside the project area. Likewise, more and more women went to these institutions for child delivery. A related development was an increased interest in family planning. The number practicing birth control went from 25 to 53 of the sampled households.

4.4 The project area economy

4.4.1 Land holding, tenurial status, land use

The data of the economic survey on agricultural land holding in 1985 are summarized in Tables 9 and 10. Table 11 provides a comparison of these data with those yielded by the 1982 economic survey. While these two sets of data are not strictly comparable because they were derived from different samples, they do provide indications of the changes taking place.

The mean size of holding for all categories of farmers had increased from 25 to 31 rat. Most significantly, those of the marginal farmers went from 5 to 8.16 rat. Mean holdings of small farmers went from 13.7 to 16.7 rat. The situation of medium farmers was relatively unchanged but for large farmers, the mean size of their holdings increased dramatically from 59.6 to 92.9 rat. This latter statistic is quite serious givenn the goal of the project to help farmers earn a livelihood from 15 rat plots and thereby address the problem of forest encroachment.

While in 1981 the largest proportion of the sample farmers (46 percent) were in the medium farmer category, in the 1985 sample, their proportion had shrunk to 36 percent. Increases in the large farmer category were marginal, from 12 to 13 percent, but the proportion of the marginal and small farmers as a group jumped to 50 percent of the whole sample, i.e. half of the sampled farmers (as compared to 43 percent in 1981) held less than 20 rat of land.

Increased disparity among the sampled farmers is most clear when differential access to available land Is considered. In the 1985 sample, marginal and small farmers (50 percent of the group) occupied 22 percent of the area of all holding. Large farmers (13 percent of the sample) occupied 40 percent of the total area. Farmers In the medium category were 36 percent of the sample and held 39 percent of the total area.

How this situation of greatly expanded area of land under cultivation developed in the 1981-1985 interval and, more specifically, how the relatively small number of 1985 large farmers were able to so dramatically increase the size of their holdings and consequently the extent of their control over the whole area, requires further examination. As the earlier surveys were conducted under very difficult conditions, the possibility of enumeration error cannot be ruled out. If, however, the facts are as reported and 85 percent of the surface of the project area set aside for agricultural exploitation was already occupied in 1981, there was simply not enough left to account for the level of expansion of land holding taking place in the years that followed. This suggests that it was accomplished by further illegal encroachment of forestland.

Table 9 - Size and distribution of holdings in agricultural land, 1985 / economic survey sample (1)

Farm size group (rai-ha)

Number of holdings

Percent of total holdings

Total area farmed by the group (rai/ha)

Percent of area farmed by all groups

mean size per holding (rai/ha)







All sizes
















1 488/238.0

1 400/224.0

1 253/200.5


3 527/564.3

8 908/1,425.4















Source; Wuthipol Hoamuangkaew 1986, p.6

Table 10 - Size and distribution of holdings in agricultural land, 1985 / economic survey sample (2)

Farm size group (rai/ha)

Number of holdings

Percent of total holdings

Total area farmed by the group (rai/ha)

Percent area farmed by all groups

Mean size per holding (rai/ha)

Marginal farmers -

Small farmers

Medium farmers

Large farmers

All farmers















1 487.8/238.0

3 453.0/552.5

3 527.0/564.3

8 908.5/1 425.4













Source: Wuthipol Hoamuangkaew 1986, p.6

As explained previously, despite the fact that, at best, they held usufructuary rights, land holders continued to claim ownership rights and dispose of land as if they were legal owners. According to the economic survey report, of the 300 sampled households, 236 (79 percent) claimed ownership of all their holding, 58 (19 percent) owned some and rented some of this land, and six (2 percent) were renters only. About 88 percent of the area of all holdings of the sample was claimed by the occupiers as their own land, roughly the same situation as in 1981. These figures include 16 households of the sample who did not engage in crop production and extend to all land held including houseground.

No new detailed data are available on the extent to which the total area of holdings was actually utilized for crop production. The 40 household survey provides the figure of 18 percent as the mean proportion of uncultivated land per holding in this sample.

4.4.2 Farm and non-farm enterprise

In the 1985 crop year, maize continued to dominate farm production but other crops which represented an insignificant quantity in 1981 were beginning to take on more importance. According to the 40 farmer survey, the mean distribution of crops as a proportion of the total area cultivated was as follows:











mung beans





fruit trees










This distribution is generally consistent with the project estimate of crops given in Table 9 which, however, omits fruit tree growing. Most of the new crops were grown instead of maize during the August to February second season. Maize still greatly predominated in the first season (March-July).

As reported by the economic survey, annual maize production increased considerably, from an average of 8 800 kg per household in 1981 to 12 653 kg per household in 1985. As average crop yields per area planted were virtually identical for both years, about 470 kg per rai, it would appear that the increase in production was due to the expansion of the area planted under maize, a rather depressing conclusion given the project extension efforts to increase production on a constant land base. However, the fact that crop yields were maintained for some at 1981 levels despite continued maize monocropping leading to soil nutrient depletion is an accomplishment in itself, probably explained by the use of better seed strains and chemical fertilizer application. More than one half of the farmers sampled in the economic survey reported using more than 90 kg of fertilizer with a mean of 309 kg per household in the 1985 crop year. There was, however, great disparity in productivity, probably relating to inputs and land quality. The 40 household survey shows that almost 40 percent of the sampled maize producers obtained yields at least 500 kg per rai, 17 percent had yields in the 600-700 kg range and 2, percent achieved yields exceeding 1 000 kg per rai. On the other hand, almost 17 percent of the farmers had yields of less than 200 kg per ha. One suspects that they were cropping agriculturally marginal land.

Table 11- Comparison of size and distribution of holdings in agricultural land, 1985 / economic surveys

Farm size group

Percent of total holdings

Percent of area farmed by all groups

Mean size per holdings (rai/ha)








Marginal farmers (1-9/0.2-1.4)







Small farmers (10-19/1.6-3.0)







Medium farmers (20-49/3.2-7.8)







Large farmers (50+/8+)







All farmers







Sources: Wuthipol Hoamuangkaew 1986, p. 6; Sumeth Raenmanee, et al. 1982, p. 11

Table 12 summarizes the data on livestock production generated by the 1985 economic survey. In 1981, only chicken production was deemed important enough to, report on. The main development is the considerable increase in cattle raising - almost 20 percent of the sampled farmers reported owning at least one animal; however, this source provides no information on the size of herds.

Non-farm activities provided another source of income for the project area population. Those listed by the economic survey report include: employment by the project to tend tree plantations; casual labour; trading; charcoal making; fishery; and other. This last item presumably includes such activities as bee raising, carpentering, vehicle operation, dress-making, etc. The only activity engaged in by a substantial proportion of the 300 sampled households (52 percent) was casual labour, presumably working for hire on larger farms, followed by employment by the project and trading (31 households or 10 percent of the sample each). Each of the remaining activities employed 8 households or less. The most remunerative of these (engaged in by 8 households) was that in the "other" category said to provide a mean annual income of Baht 40 533 ($1 560) per household. The seven households engaging in fishery were said to have earned an average income of Baht 19 764 from this enterprise. Data on the number and income of households involved in charcoal production tend to be unreliable for, as practiced, it was illegal and for a farmer to admit engaging in it would be self-incriminating. It is known however that It was widely practiced.

Farmers interviewed in mid-1986 estimated that income that could be derived from charcoal production was In the order of Baht 20 000-30 000 a year.

Table 12 - Livestock production of the 1985 / economic survey 300 household sample

Kind of livestock

No. of livestock

Producers No. (% of sample)



59 (20)



17 ( 6)



22 ( 7)


4 703

231 (77)



21 ( 7)

Note: Some farmers raised more than one type of animal.
Source: Wuthipol Hoamuangkaew, 1986, p. 16

Table 13. Net income (gross income minus farm enterprise related expenditures) of the 40 ho usehold survey samples, 1985

Range of income (Baht)

Percent of households


less than 7 000



7 000 - 14 000



14 000 - 21 000



21 000 - 28 000


Mean: 29 369

28 000 - 35 000


Min.: 30

35 000 - 42 000


Max.: 115 250

42 000 - 49 000



49 000 - 56 000



more than 56 000



Source: RESEARCH 1986, p. 20

4.4.3 Income, expenditure, borrowing

The analysis that follows is based on the data of the 40 household survey report, the only source supplying comprehensive and consistent data. Qualifications are made as appropriate on the basis of the data provided by the larger economic survey. The analysis provides a reasonably accurate and reliable account of the 40 household sample and its conclusions are illustrative of trends in the project area population as a whole1.

Income in the project area can be grouped for purposes of accounting into four broad categories. The first and most substantial is maize production. The second is the production of other crops, the most important of which are cassava, fruits (mostly mangoes), cotton and mung beans. The third category is livestock production: cattle, buffaloes, pigs, chickens and ducks (birds as well as eggs). The last category groups all other on-farm or off-farm activity including apiculture, fishery, charcoal production, trading, casual labour, etc. The mean gross income per household in the 40 household survey study was Baht 41 322 (US$ 1 590). The breakdown by source is as follows:



other agricultural products

livest ock


(Baht )

24 963 (60%)

3 626 ( 9%)

3 142 ( 8%)

9 593 (23%)

This is considerably higher than the corresponding figure for 1981 of Baht 15 700 (US$ 686). Although mean income from maize production had greatly increased (from Baht 14 575 to Baht 24 963), while maize production accounted for almost 93 percent of the total gross income in 1981, in 1985, 40 percent of this income was derived from other sources.

The 40 household survey study puts the mean expenditure for farm enterprise-related inputs per household at Baht 11 953 (US$ 460). The expenditures relate to out-of-pocket expenses as opposed to the use of items which are available on the farm but not paid for in cash, for example, family labour or seed stored from a previous crop. Given the relative importance of maize in overall production, it is not surprising to find that expenses for maize made up almost 88 percent of the total. Items selected by-the study for inclusion in this category of expenses and their share of total reported expenses are as follows:



chemical fert ilizer and insecticide

labour hire

tractor hire

transport of produce and inputs

other costs

( Baht )

281 ( 3%)

2 649 (22%)

3 521 (29%)

2 616 (22%)

1 591 (13%)

1 296 (11%)

Here again, the sum of these expenses is considerably higher than the mean reported for 1981. At that time, production-related expenditures were dominated by labour hire, tractor hire and transportation, the costs of which added up to an average of Baht 7 604 (US$ 331) per farmer.

After deducting mean farm enterprise-related expenses per household (Baht 11 953) from mean gross income from these enterprises (Baht 41 322), the mean net annual income per household for the 40 household survey for 1985 was Baht 29 369 (US$ 1 130) (see Table 13). This is nearly four times that of the 1981 sample, Baht 7 500 (US$ 326).

It should be noted that these calculations do not include loan interest payments which perhaps should be counted among the farm enterprise expenditures costs because virtually all borrowings were made for this purpose. The issue of loans and debt servicing is examined in more detail in the context of overall household finances but the findings of the survey indicate that the average loan interest payment per household in 1985 was Baht 3 3965. If this item is included in the enterprise input costs, then the mean net annual income per household was Baht 25 973 (US$ 999). There are no 1981 data available for comparison.

About 40 percent of the sample households achieved the mean range of income and 60 percent earned less that that. The largest number (24 percent) were in the Baht 14 000-21 000 range. About 31 percent earned less than Baht 14 000. More than 80 percent of the sample achieved net incomes that were higher than the 1981 mean of Baht 7 500. In order to understand the full implication of these statistics in terms of relative wealth or poverty, they need to be related to the cost of living of the households in this environment. These are summarized in Table 14 for the 40 household survey samples.

Essential household expenditures include only those made to provide family members with day-to-day necessities and not those for "luxuries" such as sweets for children, liquor, cigarettes, etc. The costs listed also do not include the value of household farm produce consumed by the family. Average annual essential household expenditure was Baht 12 990 (US$ 500) in 1985. Almost 70 percent of this was for food, about two-thirds of which was rice. Other items in order of importance were health care-related expenses, clothing, children's schooling, fuelwood and/or charcoal. The mean value of Baht 91 cited for this last item is clearly unrealistic and under-reported. According to another survey cited earlier, average charcoal consumption per household was some 8 500 kg, worth approximately Baht 765.

The writers of the report estimate the mean value of household farm produce consumed in the home of the producers to be Baht 3 342. The main items were fruits, poultry, fish/game and charcoal. The last item was valued at Baht 458 which again appears to be low. If the value of these items is added to that of the essential household expenditures, total average cost in cash and in kind of essential goods and services per household is Baht 16 332 (US$ 628).

Other expenses reported in the household accounts include loan interest payments, donations and taxes. Of these items, loan interest payment is the largest, averaging Baht 3 400 per household with a very wide range of variation. Given the importance of this issue in evaluating the economic situation of this population, it is discussed in greater depth later in this report. The content of the donation item averaging Baht 1 091 per household is not spelled out. Presumably, this refers mainly to "merit-making" activity which is a standard feature of Thai rural society. Land rent payments are not mentioned specifically but might have been included in the "other" category under essential household expenditures of Table 14, since only 7 percent of the total land was reported as rented land. Land rental cost for the area in 1985 was Baht 200 per rai.

Table 14 - Mean total household expenditures of the 40 household survey samples (in Baht) for 1985

1. Essential household expenditure

12 990 (74%)


Other basic food

Health care





5 272

3 584

1 506


1 221






( 4%)

( 9%)

( 1%)

( 6%)




2. Loan interest payments

3. Donations

4. Taxes


3 400 (19%)

1 094 ( 6%)

110 ( 1%)



17 594 (100%)

minimum : Baht 3 130

maximum : Baht 158 800

Source: RESEARCH 1986, p. 21-23

The mean total cash household expenditure of the 40 household survey samples was, therefore, Baht 17 594 (US$677) in 1985. The smallest amount spent by a household was Baht 3 130 and the largest, Baht 158 800. It would seem that the main factor accounting for this variation was fund borrowing for agricultural production to which we now turn.

This source does not indicate how many of the sampled households received loans in 1985 but on the basis of the larger economic survey finding of almost 75 percent of its sample receiving loans, we can assume that it was in the same order in this case and therefore high. Thirty-one of the 40 household sample borrowers received their loans from informal sector lenders, predominantly traders in Pak Chong. The distribution of loaned amounts from this source is shown in Table 15. About 50 percent of the loans clustered in the Baht 2 000-6 000 range but 22 percent of the loans exceeded Baht 10 000 which accounts for the high mean amount of Baht 14 188 for all samples. Interest rates on loans from this source were high; for about 50 percent of the loans it was 5 percent per month, but for 40 percent it was even higher. A few respondents claimed that they had received Interest- free loans but one suspects that such loans were made as part of a contractual arrangement with á trader whereby crops harvested would be delivered to him at lower than open market prices.

Table 15. Range of loans and credit from informal sector lenders of the 40 household survey samples (in Baht) for 1985

Range of amounts

Percentage of borrowers

0 - 1 000


1 000 - 2 000


2 000 - 3 000


3 000 - 4 000


4 000 - 5 000


5 000 - 6 000


6 000 - 7 000


7 000 - 8 000


8 000 - 9 000


9 000 -10 000


more than 10 000


Mean: Baht 14 188
Max.: Baht 300 000

Source: RESEARCH 1986, p. 28-29

Table 16 - Household financial balances (total earnings minus total expenditures of the 40 household survey sampled in 1985

Range of balances in Baht

Percent of households

More than (10 000)


(10 0 00) - ( 5 000)


( 5 0 00) - 0


0 - 5 000


5 000 - 10 000


10 000 - 15 000


15 000 - 20 000


2.0 000 - 25 000


25 000 - 30 000


30 000 - 35 000


more than 35 000


Mean : Baht 11 775/$ 453

Min. : (43 550)/($ 1 675)

Max. : 74 520/$ 2 866

Source: RESEARCH 1986, p. 25-26

Note: Figures in parentheses are negative balances

More information than that provided by the 1986 studies is needed to fully evaluate this situation. From a study of covariation between the most important interactive variables, the researchers of the 40 household survey found that the ratios of correlation between total amount of loans and credits, size of holding, total inputs value, and income are significant. Minimum implications are that income is related to the correct use of agricultural inputs which in turn underlies the necessity of a credit system enabling the farmers to buy the inputs. One should add that a critical factor in the linkage between agricultural credit and income is the capacity or ability of the farmer to manage credit to one's advantage, especially in the case of high cost loans provided by the informal sector. Large farmers are at an advantage in this regard in the sense that they have enough land to absorb added inputs made available by loans that generate greater income. Although it is more difficult, a small farmer with minimum required factors of production can also make a profit. Relationships with town traders providing loans even at 5 percent per month can be businesslike and mutually beneficial, even if usurious rates of interest are not justified. However, one suspects that it was mainly the poor credit risk small farmer, hard pressed for cash to survive, who paid the exorbitant 10-15 percent per month rates of interest.

4.4.4 Household financial balances

The overall financial balances of the 40 households are summarized in Table 16. According to these data, in 36 percent of the sampled households, hot-hold expenses exceeded household earnings. In about two-thirds of the cases, the negative balance was Baht 5 000 or less. Some 12 percent. of tale households had surpluses of Baht 5 000 or more, and about 30 percent had surpluses of Baht 5 000-20 000 range.

If the negative balances are interpreted as debts, (true unless deficits could be covered by household savings), one could venture the following financial classification of the sampled farmers:

Indebt ed farmers

Break- even farmers

Middle income farmers

Upper income farmers

(5 000+)

(5 000) - 5 000

5 000 - 20 000

20 000+





The disparity in financial position of these farmers was very wide indeed but most were at least coping and one-half of the sample was doing very well by local standards. It would be valuable to know what use was made of the financial surpluses, for example how much was invested in farm enterprise improvement or retained as savings, but unfortunately this information is not available.

4.5 Forestry project impacts

Reforestation accomplishments of the project and their impact on the natural environment have been described earlier in this report. This section focusses on the extent to which the specific forestry objectives of the project were achieved.

On the whole, the population affected was very positive about the project. Questioned about the interventions they were most appreciative of and felt most important, invariably road construction was ranked first, followed by the advocacy role of the project in obtaining development benefits from many sources.

A most visible and outstanding accomplishment of the project was the transformation of the area from a disorganized and backward frontierland to what by Thai national standards is a nearly normal rural social environment. The people enjoy legitimate status as occupants of the land. They live in functional village communities with normal community social infrastructures and participate in normal community activities. As they are now national mainstream rural communities, standard Government services (education, health, local administration, security and agricultural support) are provided. There is normal interaction between communities within the area and with market and urban centers outside. Although the level of social development still leaves room for much improvement, at least mechanisms by which it can be brought about are in place.

Considerable improvement has been achieved in the sphere of economic development. The land-holding situation of marginal and small farmers has improved and is much closer to the 15 rat norm set by the project STK programme. There is increasing diversification in cropping resulting ín reduced risk from market price fluctuation of the still-dominant maize crop. Although maize crop yields are low for many, spectacular harvests have been achieved by an important segment of the farmer population through improved practices. The average income of this group has nearly tripled in the lifetime of the project. More and more farmers are gaining access to formal sector agricultural credit.

One of the major challenges of the project was to assist farmers having full access to only 15 rat of land to achieve economic viability. A number of agroforestry-related enterprises which were introduced to the area show promise in this respect. Beekeeping, fruit tree plantation and forest grazing of cattle seem to belong to this category.

Hopefully, other proposed forestry-related innovations will prove to be important in the future. These include: private forest tree plantations for sale to wood consuming industries, use as construction material or for fuelwood and charcoal production; or intercropping cash crops with trees. Although some enthusiasm for forest tree plantation was generated in the final years of the project, it appeared to be waning for lack of demonstrated profitability. Clearly, improved markets and more time as well as more forestry extension efforts are needed for such enterprises to really begin to take off.

Community forestry is fostered with the expectation that popular participation in' tree plantation will not only contribute to an increase in resources for local farmers but will also contribute to the replenishment of national forest resources. This is beginning to happen in the project area; enthusiastically in relation to fruit trees, much more haphazardly for other species.

4.6 Problem areas

Most of the problems referred to so far might be described as transitory and correctable within the capacity of current project procedures. As stressed often in these pages, the forestry project does not end with the phasing out of technical assistance. It will be carried on following the same tested procedures by the RFD as part of its routine mandate here and In its other forest village project areas. The implication then is that over time, the activities which are presently lagging will achieve their planned objectives.

The solution to other more serious and unanticipated problems which called into question a basic concept of the project is more problematical. Reference is made here to the huge disparity in income and size of land holding among project area farmers. The problem in the project area is that maize cultivation continues to be the farmers' basic enterprise and though income enhancement on this basis has been achieved to some extent by improved practices, it is accomplished mainly by expanding the area under cultivation. The Increase In level of mean income of this population over the past few years is clearly linked to this practice. It follows then that disparity of income is likewise a direct consequence of disparity in farm sizes. The position of farmers with marginal-size holdings engaging only in cash cropping is untenable. The only way to achieve an equitable distribution of income would be a more equitable distribution of land, but this is not possible given present Government forestland policy in the project area.

By present STK regulations, only small farmers holding STK certificates are fully legitimate. There is reason to believe that most also belong to the "break-even" category of farmers, coping, but poorly. These low levels of income have hampered the performance of the forest village projects, causing them to grow more slowly and be less stable than anticipated because the farmers want more and seek better opportunities in other contexts. The same problem is also reported for other RFD forest village projects, including those of the FIO. The long-term solution built into the project is to bring all project area farmers under the STK programme, each 15 rat holding becoming financially viable through the practice of agroforestryrelated enterprises. Any land left over would constitute a communal pool to be rented out for orchards, village woodlots, etc. While theoretically sound, the practical difficulties of implementing such a plan are formidable. The STK programme policy in relation to permissible size of holding has never been popular in the project area and it is unrealistic to expect farmers controlling the 68 percent of as yet unallocated agricultural land (as of 1986) to cede their claim to it without recourse to legal and police action.

Official land policy in relation to making forestland available to landless farmers Is currently under review and has been the object of several studies since 1980. There are those who question the appropriateness of land licensing programmes on the basis of usufruct concessions in general, and of the STK programme in particular. It Is argued that in areas designated for implementation, STK programme regulations are neither observed nor enforceable. It is further argued that although the purpose of awarding STK certificates is security of tenure for the forestland encroachers, the effect Is often the opposite. Before project Implementation, the encroachers felt reasonably secure on their holdings in the knowledge that although they occupied the land Illegally, no one would physically expel them because of the political consequences. Now they have become a focus of attention and the possibility of retaining more than 15 rat of land is questionable.

The land reform programme of Thailand administered by the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives provides an alternative to the STK programme model that is worthy of consideration in this context. It also operates in degraded forestland areas, the difference being that these areas have been degazetted as reserved forestland and jurisdiction over them has been transferred from the RFD to ALRO. It also is involved in reforestation as ALRO rules require them to reserve 20 percent of their implementation area for this purpose. Likewise, occupation of the land is legalized on the basis of a usufructuary right certificate but, as opposed to the STK certificates conferred thus far, the ALRO certificates grant permanent rights.

Another basic difference between the two programmes is that the ALRO programme recognizes squatters' rights so that any occupier required to cede part of his holding is entitled to compensation. The maximum permissible size of holding is normally 50 rai (8 ha). Any land held in excess of that must be sold to ALRO. A minimum size of holding is set by the local Provincial Land Reform Committee. Land up to the minimum viable size is made available to farmers lacking it but they must purchase it from ALRO.

Long-term credit is provided at low interest rates for this purpose. The current (1987) trend in ALRO is to make possible the transition towards the full normalization of the land tenure rights by giving farmers regular land ownership titles from the Department of Lands in place of their usufructuary right certificates.

While this approach appears to be more realistic, the issue requires more study and reflection. An evolution in this direction would require some redefinition of the role of the RFD and logically of the involvement of ALRO in community forestry project implementation. At present, the RFD has neither the staff nor the budgetary structure to implement this style of land redistribution programme. However, this approach does not in any way conflict with the pursuit of the forestry and socio-economic objectives of the project.

4.7 Lessons of the project

It is clear that despite some negative outcomes due to factors beyond the control of the implementors, the achievements of the project have been substantial. The project was not designed as an isolated activity, however, but was planned in relation to on-going.. RFD forest village programmes to generate and demonstrate improved procedures for more effective implementation. To the extent that they proved to be successful, these were to be replicated in all such RFD programmes. It is useful then to examine the procedures and styles of operation of the project and their relationship to its performance in order to identify the lessons learned from this activity.

A major problem with the project was that it was planned and imposed from the top on a population that was not consulted and which was not given a choice to accept or reject it. Although planned with the benefit of the people in mind, it was not so perceived by them. Initial reactions of the forestland encroachers to the project were very negative, stemming from their perception of foresters as law enforcement officers. They were naturally suspicious and fearful that the project would lead to their eviction and the loss of their land and livelihood. A first major task of the project implementors, therefore, was to reassure them that this would not happen, and to develop relationships of trust. Second, the people had to be persuaded to accept or at leas not to resist the reforestation activity planned for the project even when it was carried out on land claimed by the encroachers. They also had to be persuaded to accept the land- holding scheme set down by the STK programme regulations. Finally, the project implementors had to obtain the active cooperation and involvement of the people in the various activities pertaining to their own socio-economic development. At this point, nothing was imposed and full scope was given to people's participation, based on the provision of a variety of development options.

The degree of success achieved in these various tasks has already been noted. That it was accomplished without violence, especially In the more sensitive areas of intervention, bears witness to the effectiveness of the approach used. Basic to this approach was a deliberate effort to establish meaningful communication. between project staff and the project area population. Most dialogue and communication with the people was conducted in village settings rather than in formal meetings which might have inhibited spontaneous and frank exchanges. A number of goodwill gestures were made to convince the people of the seriousness of the intention of the project ímplementors to help them and not just to work at forest rehabilitation.

The public relations strategy bore fruit in that several progressive village leaders gained an understanding of both the forestry and rural development objectives of the project, and of their benefits to the people. They supported the project, helped convince their fellow villagers of its usefulness and provided project staff with advice and feedback from the population on appropriate project implementation approaches.

Given its socio-economic development objectives, a special concern of the project was RFD staff development in community forestry and in forestry extension. The formal training which was provided in these areas is difficult to evaluate at this point as it took place only toward the end of Phase II of the project. More basic than formal knowledge, however, was the creation of a new state of mind in the foresters, a willingness to empathize with the population and to attend to their welfare in the pursuit of their duties as foresters. This was stressed continuously by project management, especially by the Chief Technical Adviser'. An opinion survey of the project area population included In the social survey gave the project foresters a high rating In this respect.

Another characteristic of the project which should be highlighted is its coordinating role in relation to cooperating Government agencies and its advocacy role in favour of the people. The mechanism built into the project to involve local development-oriented Government agencies in its activity, was a Cabinet-approved coordinating committee chaired by the Provincial Governor and including senior officials of the agencies concerned. Rather than rely on calling formal meetings with set agendas to discuss and approve project work plans, the Chief Technical Adviser of the project found it more convenient and fruitful to meet the committee members individually to discuss and finalize actual participation arrangements.

The potential problem in relation to the involvement of the several Government agencies participating in projects is sluggish cooperation and poor coordination. Government departments are traditionally jealous of their autonomy and there is a reluctance to act on directives from another department or to make contributions to a project for which another agency will get the credit. Coordination mechanisms tend to be weak and ineffective. When effective interagency coordination takes place, it is usually on the basis of personal relationships.

Beyond the commitment of the Royal Thai Government, two other factors also contributed to the success the project achieved in marshaling cooperation and fostering coordination in this multi-agency venture. There ís no doubt that two factors were of particular importance; the special status of the project as a United Nations-sponsored enterprise; and the effectiveness of the FAO Chief Technical Advisor both because of his personal qualities and because of the prestige of his position. Requests to cooperating agencies for action tended to be acted on more rapidly than in other Government projects. The project also had the flexibility to support the work of cooperating agencies. For example, the work of agricultural extension workers was constantly hampered by inadequate fuel supply for their vehicles. The project supplied additional fuel to ease the situation. The project also set up its own coordinating mechanism. Meetings of project and associated staff of all agencies were held monthly either in Korat or in the project area to review work in progress, consider problems and their solutions, and to generally share experience.

The advocacy role of the project staff also included that of drawing attention to specific needs for services for the project area population and of providing the population with information on which services were available and how they could be obtained. An example is the key role played by the project in securing loans to the farmers from the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).

Finally, but not least importantly, an aspect of project implementation that contributed significantly to its overall effectiveness was the flexibility of management style. Without deviating from the pursuit of essential objectives and the execution of programmed activities, actual work plans were constantly revised in light of new opportunities and/or constraints. For example, the boundaries of the project area selected in the preparatory phase of the project were modified as deemed appropriate during the lifetime of the project. Three of the seven forest villages were established outside of the original project area. The provision of infrastructure and of agricultural support services was to be concentrated in the new forest villages. In practice, most communities in the project area were recipients to various degrees, the effect of which was the development and enhancement of the area as whole as a broader settlement system or regional sub-unit.

Given its present commitment, there appears to be little doubt that the RFD will strive to continue the next phase of the community forestry project in this area and then replicate it in other areas. It has a motivated and experienced cadre of officials to draw upon, and has retained the services of a distinguished Thai expert to assist with the planning of both forestry and socio-economic aspects of this activity. It has an excellent study commissioned by the project providing guidelines and recommendations for the establishment and practice of forestry extension in the RFD.

The main task of the RFD in the follow-up phase of the project wí11 be to assume full responsibility for the coordination of the continued interdisciplinary development of the project area including the establishment of working relationships with other rural development agencies. There is also the unfinished business of fully developing the practice of agroforestry as a profitable enterprise for farmers through the continued supply of Inputs and the provision of improved forestry extension.

4.8 Concluding remarks

In the course of this study, the author had conversations with representatives of the several Government cooperating agencies who had personally been involved in the implementation of the project. All were unanimous in the view that the project was worthwhile and had generated many benefits. All were concerned about the future of the project under RFD management without UNDP/FAO involvement. Most had reservations reflecting biases derived from their own specialized backgrounds and perhaps, to some extent, from inter-agency rivalry. Some of their concerns were as follows: there was overemphasis on cash crops to maximise income, and not enough attention was paid to the production of food to improve the people's nutrition; there was overconcern for material development and not enough emphasis was placed on social development and, in particular, the development of rural institutions; the UNDP/FAO intervention was too paternalistic and did not sufficiently stress popular participation and the need for residents to assume the responsibility of doing things for themselves instead of relying on the project staff; participating Government agencies took advantage of the special status of the project as a United Nations- funded activity and redirected their budget allocations to other areas under the pretext that this project was already provided for; RFD officials are hard to work with because of their proprietary attitudes towards forestland.

Perhaps the most significant of these comments is that concerning the need to stress active involvement of the people in the development process. The implication is that by taking more Initiative and by assuming more and more responsibility in relation to the improvement of their condition, residents will progressively reduce their dependence on external interventions and achieve self-reliance.

Granted that there may have been grounds for complaints, the project was supported by substantial Government funds and several of the RFD officials involved in the project were seen to be highly motivated and close to the people. On the other hand, were we to depict the project as faultless and an unqualified success, that also would be an exaggeration. The best of plans and strategies are constrained by individual and group choices. Effective socio-economic development takes time; it is a process in which even limited accomplishments must be deemed worthwhile, even though all possible efforts must be made to maximize them.

1 Methodological note. The only major difference In the data sets from the two studies is the distribution of the important variable of fat" size. The distribution of marginal/small, medium, and large farms in the 40 household sample is In the ratio of 25-50-25, while that of the larger economic survey la 50-36-14. It seems likely that tt.e distribution of farm sizes derived from the larger study is more representative of the population of the project area as a whole. Because smaller holdings are underrepresented and larger holding are over-represented, some distortion In the analysis is likely to appear in the mean value of related variables at the upper and lower ends of the distribution ac ale, and overall sample means will inevitably be somewhat inflated.

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