In February 2019, TBC’s Food Card System was introduced in Ban Mae Surin and Mae La Oon, Mae Hong Son Province of Thailand, with funding support from the US Government.
The Food Card System (FCS) is an automated system that provides refugee households with electronic cards loaded with credit each month in lieu of receiving in-kind food rations. With the cards, refugees can purchase a wide range of food items from participating refugee-managed outlets in the camps. FCS offers a more dignified way of receiving assistance, enabling households to diversify their diets and allow more decision-making about household finances.
With addition of Ban Mae Surin and Mae La Oon camps, there are now over 34,400 refugees/7,650 households (40% of eligible refugee population borderwide) who can use food cards at 60 designated outlets in the camps. Compared to only six food items included in TBC’s general food ration basket, refugees can now choose from 13-40 items offered by the FCS vendors. These include rice, cooking oil, chilies, fish, pulses, sugar, salt, fresh vegetables, eggs, and meat. In addition, refu gees are able to purchase food items as they are needed, which can be done when convenient as opposed to queuing up at the food distribution point once a month.
TBC will further transition two more camps – Mae Ra Ma Luang in Mae Hong Son Province and Umpiem Mai in Tak Province in March 2019. TBC will continue seeking approval from Ministry of Interior (MOI) to rollout the FCS in Mae La camp during 2019.