Chinese market likes Thai leeches, earthworms, geckos

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NAKHON PHANOM, Oct 1 – A small village in this northeastern Thai province is cashing in on odd ‘products’ from the soil making total earnings of over Bt100 million for villagers each year.

In Taan village of Na Wah district across the Mekong River from Laos, people are busily catching aquatic leeches, earthworms and geckos, which are especially abundant during the rainy season, to be exported to China.

Freshwater leeches are sold at Bt500-1,000 per kg while the prices of dried or smoked leeches fetch as much as Bt1,000-2,000 per kilo depending on their sizes. Dried earthworms and geckos are also in demand in China.

Villagers who usually earn Bt10,000-20,000 a month from paddy cultivation are delighted with the extra income.