On 15 October 2005, the Government of Thailand passed the Royal Decree on Establishment of the Highland Research and Development Institute (Public Organization), HRDI. The decree inaugurated HRDI as responsible for the development of new processes and mechanisms to support and strengthen the Royal Project’s research and development activities. The focus of HRDI lies on sustainable social and economic development in Thai highlands working beyond the existing operating areas of the Royal Project. It provides support to the Royal Project and extends its success throughout the country.
The founding of HRDI is a credit to the success of the Royal Project which was initiated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1969 to eradicate opium poppy cultivation, improve hill tribe community livelihoods and rehabilitate Thailand’s highland watershed forests. HRDI works closely with the Royal Project Foundation to encourage the use of technologies and innovations that were already generated by the Royal Project. Integrating and combining them with local and indigenous wisdom and knowledge, and to support the participation of highland communities in the Royal Project’s watershed forest rehabilitation, are one of the most important tasks of HRDI. Besides HRDI’s efforts to eradicate opium and enhance biodiversity and conservation, HRDI also collaborates with international partners to exchange technologies in order to achieve the best and most effective solutions for these highland challenges.
Following the inauguration of HRDI in 2005, it was announced on 9 June 2009 that the responsibilities of HRDI should be expanded. Since then, HRDI also manages the Royal Flora Rajapruek and its exhibitions. The Royal Flora Rajapruek is the site of the International Horticultural Exposition that was established in commemoration to His Majesty’s 60th Anniversary of His Accession to the throne and His 80th Birthday in 2006. HRDI organized the activities, exhibitions and facilities promoting green energy and sustainable development. On 23 January 2010, His Majesty the King renamed the Royal Flora Rajapruek to the Royal Park Rajapruek.