The rice is from an exchange project by which sea gypsies trade dried fish that they have not been able to sell with hill tribe farmers who grow rice.
A nearly identical project, also organised by the national Chumchonthai Foundation (“Community Foundation”), nine tonnes of rice flown to Phuket by the Royal Thai Air Force landed on the island on April 20, in exchange for about a tonne of sun-dried fish provided by sea gypsies along the Andaman coast.
The rice handed over yesterday (May 7) was officiated with a ceremony held at Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command at Cape Panwa presided over by Vice Admiral Cherngchai Chomcherngpat of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command together with Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana.
Present to gratefully receive the rice were representatives of five sea gypsy communities in Phuket: at Baan Laem Tukkae, Baan Rawai, Baan Sapam, Baan Hin Luk Diew and Baan Laem La.
“Phuket Province thanks those involved for making the project a success,” Governor Phakaphong said.
V/ Adm Cherngchai explained, “The spread of the COVID-19 virus has caused problems for people, especifically sea gypsies.
“In this regard, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation [DDPM] and the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command is [acting as] a center for donating rice and dried foods from various organisations.”