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TABLE 17. Educational status


Ko Lao

Buddhists Muslims Total Had Sai Khao
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Illiterate 14 17.9 20 27.4 34 22.5 20 16.8
Below school agea 18 23.1 21 28.8 39 25.8 17 14.3
Students 14 17.9 14 19.2 28 18.5 23 19.3
Schooling completed
<4 years 8 10.3 2 2.7 10 6.6 18 15.1
4 years 16 20.5 14 19.2 30 19.9 28 23.5
5-7 years 7 9.0 2 2.7 9 6.0 11 9.2
high school 1 1.3 0 0 1 0.7 2 1.7
Total 78 100 73 100 151 100 119 100

a. Children less than seven years old are not required to attend school.

Land ownership. All the land on Ko Lao and Had Sai Khao islands has been declared public land. Because the mangrove forests are part of the forest reserve, the mangrove dwellers cannot own land in the villages, but they are allowed to build houses on the seashore around the islands. The houses are built close together, each home lot averaging only about 1 5 to 20 mē.

Village leadership. There was no formal organized group for community development in either village. The village headman appeared to receive the highest credit from all respondents in each community as the leader of a community development project, the next most important leader being the teacher.

Common problems of life. An adequate supply of water for drinking and other domestic uses was a common problem for the two mangrove village (see ch. 3, below) (fig. 24). Another problem reported by households in both villages was sudden illness. The overall level of well-being, health care, and sanitation in the villages was very poor. They urgently need a programme to solve these problems, especially those concerning young people, to provide a better quality of life in the future.

Household Economy

Although Ko Lao and Had Sai Khao are located close to each other on separate islands, there are many economic differences between them. On the average, Ko Lao households were poorer than Had Sai Khao households. Shrimp-paste making was the major source of income for Ko Lao dwellers, whereas sea fishery without processing generated the major income for Had Sai Khao villagers. No Ko Lao households earned income from making charcoal, but two Had Sai Khao households obtained supplemental income by making and selling charcoal. No other income was earned from forestry sources by mangrove dwellers of either village.

Table 18 shows that the average annual income earned by Ko Lao households was about B 31,885. The largest contribution to household income in Ko Lao was from shrimp paste, which generated B 17,539 per household, or 54 per cent of the total. Fishing contributed B 9,011 per household, almost 30 per cent. Wage work accounted for only 12 per cent, but was especially important for those households that had a large labour force. On the average, the Buddhist households earned more annual income (B 36,700) than the Muslim households (B 26,268). Because of the difference in household size, per capita income in Buddhist households (B 6,673) was about 55 per cent higher than that in Muslim households (B 4,306).

TABLE 18. Annual income per household from all sources


Ko Lao

Buddhists Muslims Total Had Sai Khao
Baht % Baht % Baht % Baht %
Unprocessed fish 10,174.5 27.7 7,653.8 29.1 9,011.1 28.3 54,743.3 85.6
Shrimp paste 19,075.6 52.0 15,745.6 59.9 17,538.7 54.4 0 0
Charcoal 0 0 0 0 0 0 252.2 0.4
Wage labour 6,021.4 16.4 1,118.3 4.3 3,758.4 11.8 5,050.1 7.9
Grocery shop 1,142.9 3.1 1,200.0 4.6 1,169.3 3.7 2,010.2 3.1
Trader/fish merchant 0 0 0 0 0 0 1,923.1 3.0
Other 285.5 0.8 550.0 2.1 407.6 1.3 0 0
Total 36,699.9 100 26,267.7 100 31,885.1 100 63,978.9 100

The average annual income in Had Sai Khao was B 63,979 pr household, or more than twice that of Ko Lao households (table 18). In contrast to Ko Lao, there was no shrimp-paste making in Had Sai Khao, and most of the villagers had never been involved in making shrimp paste. Fishing without processing contributed nearly 86 per cent to the total household income. Wages were the next most important source of income for Had Sai Khao families, accounting for about 8 per cent of the total. The demand for hired labour, including fishing crews, came from households fishing on a relatively large scale. Thus households in Had Sai Khao with greater numbers of adult males had greater opportunity to hire out family members.

Two Had Sai Khao households made charcoal commercially, while four households produced charcoal for their own use. Had Sai Khao fishermen had the option of selling their catch either to village merchants or to merchants in Ranong. Two households bought fish for resale in Ranong and also engaged in fishing for themselves, but most households sold their catch to the two merchants in their village since it was more convenient. They might also sell to merchants in Ranong when their catch was large enough to cover the shipping costs from the village.

The means, ranges, and standard deviations of household cash income from various sources in the two villages are given in table 1 9. These figures suggest the range of variation in the sources and amounts of household income in the villages.

Production and consumption expenses. A summary of the average production expenses incurred by households in the two communities in fishing and in making shrimp paste and charcoal is given in table 20. The average annual production costs of Ko Lao households were B 4,400 for fishing and B 11,996 for making shrimp paste, totalling an average of B 16,396 per household per year. These costs accounted for 51 per cent of the total household income. It should be pointed out that these costs include both cash and non-cash or unpaid expenses, such as family labour and household production of small shrimp. Expenses for such items as salt, fuel, lubricants, repairs, and transportation accounted for only 1 4 per cent of the total production cost of shrimp paste.

Food accounted for 84 per cent of all household consumption expenses in Ko Lao and 83 per cent in Had Sai Khao (table 21). Total consumption and production costs exceeded the annual income of Ko Lao households. They could survive economically because 50 per cent of the value of their food consumption (other than rice) was not paid for in cash but was drawn in kind from family labour or household production.

TABLE 19. Means, ranges, and standard deviations (SD) of household income (baht per year), by source of income


Ko Lao

  Buddhists Muslims Total Had Sai Khao
Unprocessed fish
mean 10,174.5 7,653.8 9,011.1 54,743.3
range 0-103,533 0-75,366 0-103,533 5,869-204,921
SD 19,788.6 19,582.2 19,733.4 54,479.5
Shrimp paste
mean 19,075.6 15,745.6 17,538.7 0
range 0 - 67,488 0 - 44,268 0 - 67,488  
SD 7,354.0 6,751.7 7,274.3  
mean 0 0 0 252.2
range       0- 3,934
SD       892.3
Wage labour
mean 6,027.4 1,118.3 3,758.4 5,050.1
range 0-19,544 0-15,635 0-19,544 0-26,200
SD 6,457.8 5,627.7 6,136.7 7,718.5
Grocery shop        
mean 1,142.9 1,200.0 1,169.3 2,010.2
range 0- 16,000 0 - 14,000 0 - 16,000 0-36,533
SD 4,276.2 3,979.9 4,056.4 7,537.3
Trader/fish merchant
mean 0 0 0 1,923.1
range       0 - 50,000
SD       6,697.7
mean 285.5 550.0 407.6 0
range 0- 492 0 - 2,952 0 - 2,952  
SD 246.9 1,092.9 822.2  
Total income
mean 36,699.9 26,267.7 31,885.1 63,978.9
range 10,003.8- 119,533.7 5,625.7 -99,589.7 5,625.7 - 119,533.7 6,017.8- 131,114.2
SD 29,887.1 25,927.4 31,015.3 52,005.6

TABLE 20. Average production expenses per household for fishing, making shrimp paste, and making charcoal


Ko Lao

Buddhists Muslims Total Had Sai Khao
Baht % Baht % Baht % Baht %
Fishing 6,082.2 31.8 2,437.4 18.5 4,400.0 26.8 19,242.3 99.3
Shrimp paste 13,047.7 68.2 10,769.9 81.5 11,996.4 73.2 0 0
Charcoal 0 0 0 0 0 0 126.1 0.7
Total 19,129.9 100 13,207.3 100 16,396.4 100 19,368.4 100

Includes estimated cash value of labour and other non-cash inputs to production.

TABLE 21. Average annual consumption per household


Ko Lao

Buddhists Muslims Total Had Sai Khao
Baht % Baht % Baht % Baht %
rice 9,877 35.2 5,395 24.3 7,808 30.8 5,994 13.8
other food 13,861 49.4 12,913 58.2 13,424 52.9 30,078 69.0
subtotal 23,738 84.5 18,308 82.5 21,232 83.7 36,072 82.8
Non-food expenditures
clothing 1,033 3.7 993 4.5 1,015 4.0 2,185 5.0
medical 1,181 4.2 821 3.7 1,015 4.0 1,735 4.0
education 208 0.7 88 0.4 152 0.6 171 0.4
charity 135 0.5 540 2.4 322 1.3 447 1.0
entertainment 757 2.7 388 1.7 587 2.3 755 1.7
housing maintenance 333 1.2 400 1.8 364 1.4 533 1.2
charcoal 701 2.5 657 3.0 681 2.7 1,226 2.8
other 0 0 0 0 0 0 467 1.1
subtotal 4,348 15.5 3,887 17.5 4,135 16.3 7,519 17.2
Total 28,086 100 22,195 100 25,368 100 43,591 100

Includes estimated cash value of household products consumed at home.

Net family income. Net family income is defined as the difference between total household income and total household expenses of production and consumption. Table 22 shows the average net household income of the two surveyed villages, calculated by subtracting all cash and noncash expenses from the total household cash income. These figures show clearly the importance of non-cash transactions in the household economy of these mangrove villagers. If all transactions were based on cash, the households of Ko Lao village would have had a negative average annual income of B 9,879 per household. The appearance of a negative net income is possible because non-cash or unpaid expenses are included in the estimates of production costs and consumption. Total cash expenses can be derived if all unpaid items are excluded from production and consumption expenses. These results are also shown in table 22. Ko Lao households spent an average of B 25,832 in cash for their family production and consumption. When all cash expenses are subtracted from the household income, the net family cash income averaged B 6,053 per year, or B 504 per month. Buddhist households had a higher net cash income (B 7,497) than Muslim households (B 4,368).

Had Sai Khao households had a higher net total income and a higher net cash income than those of Ko Lao. Table 22 shows that Had Sai Khao families earned a net income of B 1,019 a year, while Ko Lao families had a negative net income, if both cash and non-cash expenses are subtracted from their total cash income. On the average, Had Sai Khao households generated a net cash income of B 16,058 per year (B 1,338 baht per month), while Ko Lao households made only B 6,053 per year.

Borrowing and debt. Indebtedness was very low among Ko Lao village households during 1983. The average debt at the end of the year for households which had borrowed was about B 800. Of the 14 Buddhist households, only two (14 per cent) still had debts, averaging B 100 per household, at the end of 1983, while seven Muslim households (58 per cent) borrowed an average of B 686 per household. About 54 per cent of the borrowed funds were used for household consumption and 45 per cent for costs of production (e.g., buying gasoline, fuel, lubricant, and salt for household fisheries and shrimp-paste making).

Friends or relatives were the only source of loans for households in Ko Lao. No interest was charged; for religious reasons Muslims do not charge or pay interest on loans, and loans to Buddhist households in this village were also without interest.

Eight out of 26 Had Sai Khao households (31 per cent) reported borrowing money in 1983. The average amount borrowed was about B 2,956. The primary reason for borrowing was to repay debts carried over from the previous year. Households which had borrowed in 1983 repaid 93.4 per cent of the total loans carried over and borrowed in the year (B 6,744). Debts remaining at the end of 1983 averaged B 445.

Funds were borrowed from friends, relatives, and village merchants. The interest rate charged by merchants was generally 20 per cent per year, while friends and relatives charged 15 per cent. The two village merchants who had lent money stated that they had to charge a relatively high interest rate in order to force the borrowers to pay back quickly. In addition they indicated that it is risky to lend to a household in Had Sai Khao because there are no secure assets to take for collateral. Merchants have to take the risk of lending to Had Sai Khao villagers as a part of their business strategy to maintain close links with these households. As a result of taking loans, the borrowers are indirectly forced to sell their fishing catch to the merchants who are the lenders.

Had Sai Khao households spent nearly 90 per cent of the borrowed money on household production and 10 per cent on consumption, in contrast to Ko Lao households, which used over half of their borrowings for consumption.

TABLE 22. Average annual income, expenses, and net income per household (in baht)


Ko Lao

Had Sai Khao
Buddhists Muslims Total  
Average cash income 36,699.9 26,267.7 31,885.1 63,978.9
Average expensesa
for productionb

19,129.9 13,207.3 16,396.4 19,368.4
(40.5) (37.3) (39.3) (30.8)
28,086.0 22,195.0 25,368.0 43,591.0
(59.5) (62.7) (60.7) (69.2)
total 47,215.9 35,402.3 41,764.4 62,959.7
Net income - 10,516.2 - 9,134.1 - 9,879.3 1,019.2
Cash expenses 29,203.3 21,899.3 25,832.2 47,920.6
Net cash income 7,496.7 4,368.4 6,052.9 16,058.3

a. Figures in parentheses are percentages of total expenses.
b. Includes estimated cash value of labour and other non-cash inputs to production.
c. Includes estimated cash value of household products consumed at home.

Current economic situation. According to interviews with household heads in both villages, living conditions were difficult. income was said to be decreasing because of the decline in populations of mature sea animals and the deterioration of the mangrove forests around the islands. They indicated that if this situation continued to get worse they might have to move to places that offered better opportunities for fishing.


The studies of the socio-demographic characteristics, economic situation, and other aspects of life in these two mangrove villages reveal problems that should be alleviated and overcome by the government or concerned institutions in order to assist the mangrove dwellers to improve their living standards before the situation becomes worse. The following recommendations are based on results of the study.

1. An adult-education programme should be established in both Ko Lao and Had Sai Khao villages to assist illiterate persons. There is a relatively high percentage of illiteracy, especially in Ko Lao.

2. Ko Lao households face a problem of population pressure and an economic burden for the families because 50 per cent of the family members are children under age 15. Even though some birth control methods have been used, they have been relatively ineffective. A birth control programme should be implemented in this village to reduce propulation growth in the near future. Because Muslim households were found to have a greater burden of dependency than Buddhist households, the programme should include methods that will not conflict with their religious beliefs.

3. Because capture fishing is the most important occupation of most households in both communities, other fishery operations, for example small-scale, inexpensive programmes like raising fish in cages, should be considered and tested for feasibility. Such projects may give more opportunity for the villagers to work in addition to their sea fishery. This is important because it is expected that the sea fishery around the Ranong estuary will become less profitable and more costly in the near future due to rapid decrease in the supply of marine animals in the area. This implies that the two mangrove villages should receive more attention from the Department of Fisheries and other related agencies. Demonstrations of aqua-farming techniques at the village level should also be made.

4. Most of the marine animals caught by the fishermen from both villages were sold fresh, since there are no processing techniques other than drying. Shrimp paste was made only by Ko Lao villagers, who use old methods; the quality is low and the process is timeconsuming. They receive a low price for it and thus earn a low income. In order to improve both the quality and the quantity of the shrimp paste, some appropriate production techniques should be introduced in Ko Lao and also in Had Sai Khao, where shrimp paste is not now produced. Other fish-processing techniques should be demonstrated in both villages to increase income.

5. The government, through the Royal Forest Department, should provide a definite area of the forest, or a "village forest," to the villagers to allow them to use mangrove wood for firewood and charcoal and timber for house construction. The local forests should be taken care of by the villagers. Villagers and the concessionaires do not co-operate on forest business, and the villagers claimed that destruction of the mangrove forests around both villages was the fault of the concessionaires. They felt that exploitation of mangrove forests by concessionaires was unfair to them. The government should require concessionaires to co-operate with mangrove villagers by hiring them to work in the charcoal kilns, to protect the forest, or to participate in other forest work, so that they can get more income and develop a good relationship with the concessionaires. This will contribute indirectly to the conservation of the mangrove forests around both villages.

6. A supply of fresh drinking water is an urgent need for the two villages. Because the rainy season lasts eight or nine months each year, collection of rainwater would be a cheap source of fresh water. This should be considered as a means to increase the fresh water supply. Most of the households reported that they could store only a little rain-water because they do not have enough water containers. This shortage of fresh water could be eliminated if the villagers were trained to make inexpensive water containers. A programme for this purpose has already been established and is available from the Department of Community Development, and the local government of Ranong Province can request help from this department.
The government may provide two or three water containers to each village for the collection of rain-water for public consumption in case of a sudden severe shortage of fresh water. An investment programme for one or two public dug wells in each mangrove village is also recommended.

7. First-aid health-care services are also needed for Ko Lao and Had Sai Khao, whose residents often face problems of sudden illness. In order to overcome constraints of the local government budget which make it impossible to build and staff a standard health-care station for the small village population, a less expensive health service programme is recommended. A good example of this kind of programme is the village medical bank, and a short-term training programme for one or two villagers to become local village health workers. These workers would be trained in how to give first-aid services to the villagers. Some plants from the mangrove forests might be used as alternatives for mediine, but a scientific assessment of their effectiveness and safety is needed before they can be recommended.

8. A co-operative organization should be set up before the above programmes are implemented in order to increase the co-operation among the villagers, which will be necessary in order to ensure that the programmes succeed.


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