Monday, January 11, 2010

Fast Facts: Thailand

In 2005, Plant With Purpose came alongside Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP) in Northern Thailand to provide support and training for marginalized hill tribes. Our program in Thailand is one of our newest projects and we've been so excited to see the transformation that is already taking place in the lives of hill tribe members. Here are some fast facts about Thailand and the problems Plant With Purpose seeks to address:

Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

Population: 65,905,410

Total area: 513,120 sq km (more than twice the size of Wyoming)

Population below poverty line: 10%

Forests: Most of the primary forest in Thailand is gone, with secondary forest only covering roughly 20% of the land area. This is compared to over 70% forest cover prior to World War II

Religion: According to the last census 94.7% of the total population are Buddhists of the Theravada

tradition. Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at 4.6%

The hill tribe communities of Northern Thailand face serious challenges to their survival. In recent years, access to fertile farmland has significantly decreased, leaving subsistence farmers degraded hillsides on which to survive and make a living. Forest resources, critical for medicine, food, and construction, are declining in availability as land is taken over for conservation or expanding crop production. Sustainable income opportunities are needed as the population increases. The problem of poverty and lack of quality farmland is compounded by restrictions on citizenship (and therefore land rights) and travel and employment opportunities.

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