Thai farmers resort to collecting ant eggs to sell after land is ravaged by drought

Footage shows struggling farmers in rural Thailand foraging for ant eggs - a local delicacy and an alternative source of income after droughts have ravaged their business.

Donlaporn Yaiwong has given up on rice farming after several decades due to the lack of rain drying out her land in Phayao, northern Thailand.

She now trawls woodland with 30ft long bamboo stem tied with a sack on the end in search of ant nests.

Footage from Thursday (February 27) morning shows her using the long stem to pull the nests of ants complete with their eggs from the branches.

She pours them on a tray filled with tapioca flour which repels the ants so she can sell the eggs as a food ingredient. Ant eggs are used in northern Thailand in "som tam," a popular type of spicy salad, as well as soups and omelette.

Eating ant eggs are a high source of protein and popular in rural third world Asian countries.

The stricken farmer said that previously she had only sold ant eggs as an extra source of money but now she has to do it for living.

She said: "I would only normally collect ant eggs as side job, but the drought has affected me so badly that now the eggs are my only source of income.

"Moreover, the drought also caused the ants to make fewer nests and I have to spend more time than usual to find enough to sell."

Thailand has suffered severe droughts over the last few months due to a lack of rain. Many rivers and ponds have dried up.