Locals in Mueang Phia were ready to put up fierce opposition against the construction of a sugar mill and power plant close to their homes. But in an unexpected move this week, the company announced to postpone the project that is feared will pollute the air and damage the delicate ecosystem of Lake Lawa.
Living the life of a farmer in rural Isaan, Martin Wheeler became the poster child for organic agriculture and the sufficiency economy model. But much of the attention, Wheeler says, was misdirected. His farm which once grew rice and vegetables is now filled with sugarcane and grown with chemical fertilizer.