CHIANG RAI – Residents of a village in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Khong district has turned the annual drought into an opportunity by harvesting Mekong weeds to sell, earning some Bt500 to Bt2,000 a day.
Residents of Ban Haad Krai village in Tambon Vieng said they started harvesting the weed early this month when the water in the river lowered during the dry season.
They said they could harvest the aquatic weed until April and could do it just once a year.
During the dry season, the water in the river lowers to reveal rocks at the bottom of the river, from which villagers can harvest the weed, which is called “kai” in the Lanna dialect.
Kham Yongyin, 70, said villagers could sell the weed for about Bt10 per kilogram and each person could harvest 5 to 20kg each day.
The Chiang Rai provincial administration has announced that an annual festival will be held at the Ching Khong district office on Friday to promote the dried kai product.
Meanwhile, the water situation at some parts of the Mekong River has become critical. In Chiang Rai, naval officers have assisted commercial boats getting stuck on sandbars in the river.
A naval unit in Chiang Rai on Wednesday had to tow the boats and also sent officers to patrol shallow parts of the river in Chiang Saen district. The naval unit warned boat captains to exercise caution when operating vessels on the river.
Cargo ships still cannot pass some parts of the Mekong River, 53 kilometers away from the Golden Triangle, despite the now rising water level. Ships have to transfer their freight to smaller boats so that they can sail pass the shallows.