Video 1: https://www.dropbox.com/s/v42ajhmqer65c6r/VRP63041_1.mp4?dl=0
Video 2 (subtitles) : https://www.dropbox.com/s/gek7jj22u7s0mts/VRP63041_2.mp4?dl=0
Taxis that have been scrapped during the Covid-19 pandemic have been converted into vegetable patches.
The vehicles once ferried hundreds of tourists a day – a lucrative source of income for the drivers – around holiday destination Bangkok in Thailand.
However, international tourists were prevented from travelling to the country amid the panic caused by Covid-19 cases last March.
Rules are yet to be relaxed and tens of thousands of taxis across the once-bustling capital city have been left in junkyards.
One taxi firm boss has now converted his old cars into vegetable patches where food is grown and given out for free to out-of-work cabbies who are still struggling with the economic downturn.
Thapakorn said: ‘I have a taxi company and I am an advisor to the taxi driver co-operative unions. I know the drivers are stressed out because of the pandemic.
‘Some drivers have killed themselves because things are so bad. My staff are also very stressed because Covid-19 has lasted so long.
‘The cars are parked like they are worthless. They are all scrap now. So I had the idea to plant chillis and eggplants to grow so the drivers and staff can eat them.’
The businessman added that once the vegetables were ready to harvest, he let the drivers and staff come and take some for their family.
He said: ‘We give out the chilli paste with them and their family for free. The drivers can have chilli paste to eat with the veggies. I want the government to help taxi drivers. We can’t go through this on our own. It’s been very difficult for us.’
Thailand has recorded 1,394,756 Covid-19 cases and 14,485 deaths as of September 14.
Economists have warned that it could be another five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels.
Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen.
Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.