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17-09-12, 03:53 PM #1Paknam Web Online Staff
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To Maehan residents floods are a money making opportunity
Harnessing the floods
Mae Rahan residents have found that the water holds unexpected bounty
Published: 17/09/2012 at 10:13 AMNewspaper section: News
Flooding has turned paddy fields and local roads in Mae Rahan village in Phitsanulok not only into a vast pond, but also a pot of gold.
For Mae Rahan locals, flooding isn't all bad news.
For them, the seasonal floods generate bountiful opportunities to earn some extra income.
Most residents stop farming rice during September as they are fully aware that their paddy fields will be inundated by floodwater, said Somsak Ponghom, 50, a native of the village in tambon Ban Krang of Muang district.
While they cannot grow rice due to flooding, locals find alternative sources of income by catching fish, paddy rats and snakes for personal consumption and for sale, he said.
"Paddy rats and snakes are products that generate income for the locals. Pad pet noo na (spicy stir-fried rat meat) is a popular menu item during the floods, while the meat of snakes, particularly cobras, fetch better prices," Mr Somsak said.
Last year, many residents made a lot of money from catching snakes during the flooding.
"Floodwater has just entered our community for two to three days.
"The water level is still low. Last year, the water level was very high," he said. Many residents became rich selling snakes they captured.
The reptiles were driven to the village from their natural habitats by the floodwater.
Contrary to the sentiments of most people, the villagers at Mae Rahan want the flood to last longer.
However, the floodwater here usually recedes quickly after inundating the communities for only three months, Mr Somsak said.
"It should be five months at least," he said.
During the flood season in Mae Rahan, it is not an uncommon sight to see a group of men, armed with hand-made wooden guns, gather in inundated paddy fields.
Their guns, with plastic bullets attached to a string, are specially designed to shoot paddy rats.
Payong Khamsai, a farmer-turned-fisherman, said he and his neighbours catch fish for food during this season, and also sell them to supplement their incomes.
Somporn Juiwon, another Mae Rahan resident, said her family earned their living by raising ducks for sale.
The flooding helped her save on the cost of transporting the ducks to their natural feeding grounds. She usually has to hire trucks to take her 4,500 ducks to forage for food in fertile grounds far from her home.
The ducks are the main source of income for her family, while growing rice provides her with supplementary income. Like many others in her community, she thinks the floods have not made life miserable for her.
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