The Royal Project was created after His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit visited an opium-growing hill tribe village of Doi Pui in 1969. During the visit, the King learned of a variety of peach tree that provided the local farmers with a higher income than the opium poppy. His Majesty realized that alternative agriculture including temperate fruit trees could be used to replace opium and would generate higher incomes, solving the problems of poverty, opium production and deforestation at the same time. To find out if his idea was correct, His Majesty founded the Royal Project by his own personal funds.
At present, the Royal Project Foundation has 38 Development Centres in the 5 northern provinces of Chiangmai, Chiangrai, Mae Hong Son, Lamphun and Phayao. It now supports 39,277 families, numbering 168,445 people and covering 1,75,625 acres.