National Broadcast by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, September 2, 2016


Good evening dear Thai citizens.

I would like to congratulate the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) for having procured 39 trains out of 115 in total this past Monday. The rest will arrive in October. This is considered a milestone for Thailand as the country has not seen any new rail roads for the past 60 years, and for the past 40 years, there have not been any significant investments in railroad transport, which is Thailand’s first mode of public transport, introduced since the reign of King Rama V.

The percentage of rail transport users in Thailand stands at 5 percent, while freight transport accounts for only 2 percent of all logistics activities in the country. This is in spite of the fact that the rest of the world has put great emphasis on railroad development, given how cost effective rail transport can be as it is able to transport goods at lower cost and at higher capacity, and that it can connect different regions of a country, not to mention a country to the rest of the world.

For decades, rail development in Thailand has been hampered many delays, particularly in terms of services development and trackside property development, due to outdated laws that obstructed the  commercial potential of such areas, and the lack of reforms within responsible agencies. I have, therefore, asked all the related agencies and personnel involved to cooperate in implementing this fundamental change.

Although approved in 2011 with a 4.9 billion baht budget, this project never came to fruition until this administration was able to expedite the removal of the remaining hindrances, thus allowing a new contract of 300 million baht lower than the initial estimate to be drafted and signed. The total amount is 4.6 billion baht. All trains will be delivered this October. We are making purchases of both carriages and locomotives.

When completed, the State Railway of Thailand is expected to additionally earn 1.25 billion baht a year. This will help to raise the standards of rail services in terms of safety, modernity, cleanliness, and competitiveness. These new rail services will be made accessible to all passengers including the disabled.

The revenue earned from rail services will go into state expenditures, which will bring benefits and welfare to rail workers and related personnel. According to the planned project, all of the 115 trains will operate on 4 routes including Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Ubon Ratchathani, Bangkok-Nong Khai, and Bangkok-Hat Yai. The number of trains on each route will be based on the expected number of passengers. The trains will run 120 kilometers an hour once the dual rail tracks have been completed, cutting traveling time by 3 hours.

Rail development plans that are being implemented are as follows.

The first one is the development plan of 6 dual rail routes, with a construction period of 5 years. The second phase will introduce 8 more routes running more than 2,500 kilometers in total. It will be dual system. At present, 93% are single rail routes while dual rail routes account for only 4%. Our trains cannot go any faster because there is only one track on the routes, thus them requiring to stop at many intervals to let another carriage past first, as they have to travel on the same rail track. This is why we’re installing the dual track system.

Until now, our rail transport system has not realised its full potential, thus losing popularity among travelers. Therefore, once these projects are finished, the proportion of dual rail will move to 60%. This should improve our country’s transport infrastructure.

In terms of finding solutions to rail crossings, which number more than a thousand in Thailand, there will be overhead bridges, tunnels, signs, and lights at these crossings.

The next project is the 4-route high-speed rail construction. The project connects the 4 regions of Thailand and other countries, be they north, south, east, or west. It will connect Bangkok with 4 economic regions, including Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima, Bangkok-Rayong, Bangkok-Hua Hin, and Bangkok-Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai. We will also connect with neighboring countries.

As this will require a substantial budget, incremental implementation will be needed, as well as the incorporation of this project into the 20-year plan and the 12th economic and social development plan (5 years from 2017 to 2021.

There are more megaprojects that we will have to proceed with, including new and refurbishment projects. Their implementation will be in line with the Act on state budget expenditure. The cabinet was told to conduct a study on the procurement process and form 3 committees.

The first committee will be in charge of estimating demand and formulating future development plans according to the findings. This is to allow for budget allocation to be within the expected timeframe, and in accordance with real needs. We can no longer base our projects on an accumulated demand over the years, with the aim of starting all of them at once.

The second committee will be in charge of procurement, and will need to consider the true demands of the country and the needs of the people, as well as technologies that are needed, not to mention the feasibility of each project. It will consider the work of 1st committee and also consider how each project is in line with the NESDB’s plan, the rail development plan, and plans by other agencies.

The third committee is in charge of inspecting the project’s integrity, in order to enhance trust and confidence. It will look into the prices, equipment, and maintenance plans, among others. Most importantly, there must be technology transfer along the process.

Data collected by the three committees will be incorporated into terms of reference (TOR). This is to ensure concrete results and transparency, prevent unnecessary spending, and to allow the government to manage its budget systematically and strategically.

As for traffic congestion in Bangkok, the government has been looking into a comprehensive solution to this very difficult challenge involving many complex issues. This is a chronic problem that was not only caused by the large number of vehicles and not enough available roads.

We have to look at the issue from all angles and implement short, medium, and long-term plans in a strategic manner. We will need active and integrative collaboration from many sectors. Every past government has tried to fix this problem. The current government will undertake this with new initiative and try to solve this problem in response to the people’s demands. This will require public cooperation as well. Otherwise we will not be able to address the many dimensions of this problem in an integrative manner.

Some measures might be able to stimulate the economy, but they may also come with social affects. There is the issue of public debt and how the government needs to create understanding within society about the solutions for these existing problems. What do we need to do to convince people to cooperate?

Today, we are looking into other big projects such as the following.

The creation of connectivity between Bangkok and other cities -the goal is to distribute wealth and development and to relieve congestion in the capital and other big cities. We are speeding up the construction of expressways, highways, ring roads, railways, and residential areas of people. In addition, wealth distribution will help generate more income for people in different parts of the country, creating more business opportunities in these areas, and people who can commute on a daily basis.

For instance, the 4-route high-speed rail project – the government is accelerating the first phase, with a focus on developing areas around rail tracks and stations. For this we will need to look into revising certain regulations. It is hoped that the living conditions of people living along the train tracks will be uplifted as well. We will also need to make sure that any changes made do not end up distressing certain communities.  We have to allow for new communities to emerge, with servicing markets and where there are maintenance centers, creating employment and income.

In reference to establishing orderliness among public vans, the government is doing its best. By October, public vans traveling from Bangkok to other provinces, with distance of no longer than 300 kilometers, will be stationed at Chatuchak, Southern Bus Terminal, and Ekamai. Please comply with this policy so that traffic can improve. This initiative can help reduce traffic as there are more than 4,000 public vans on the streets of the capital. I ask for operators to respect this rule and refrain from cajoling passengers to protest and make unrealistic demands. I will look into this matter carefully.

We then need to connect expressways with other modes of transport, which will allow us to reduce traffic congestion and increase service quality. Recently, the Srirach-Outer Ring Expressway was inaugurated, connecting Kanchanaphisek Road and Borommaratchachonnani Road. The expressway is also linked with Kampangpetch 2 Road, Bang Sue, and Mo Chit Station.

In October 2016, the ETCS system which includes the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Easy Pass) and the Department of Rural Roads (M-Pass) will be connected. There might be teething at first as it is still a trial period. But once fully functional, it will alleviate congestion on expressways and toll ways. Traffic on main roads will also be eased. This is only the first step of the e-ticket idea which we’ve mentioned before. It is currently proceeding. It will take some time. In the future, we must connect all systems, using a single card to get through every gate.

In addition, we must be able to connect all mass transit in Bangkok and its vicinity. Not only e-ticket, we must connect roads, stations, piers, electric train stations, bus terminals, 19 speed-boat piers on Chao Phraya. We are turning piers into ports or what we call boat stations, just like train stations, with high security and advanced technologies, allowing us to monitor all water transport activities, reorganizing port areas, and linking them to 4 electric rail routes – purple, red, blue, and green. The 1-kilometer connecting route is also being constructed.

Boat services on Khlong Saen Saeb and Khlong Phadung will be improved in line with the Chao Phraya project. Landscape on both sides of the canals will be renovated. We will have eco-friendly boats that will not cause noise disturbances. We should all cooperate and work together on this matter. People including those living illegally on the banks should think of others as well. There are law-abiding citizens who are unable to access the canal. I have instructed officials to look into the possibility of boat taxis like other countries. I think it would be a great idea if we try it out in canals of Bangkok and vicinity. If we can do this, it will definitely reduce the use of road vehicles.

As for electric rail, we have just inaugurated a new route, the purple line. There remains a problem in terms of connectivity. Other routes are being developed and will be in working order very soon. With all routes in place, all rail transport will be connected in Bangkok and around it. This will encourage car users to travel by trains. It has been only two years since we came to office. We are doing our best and will continue to do so. We can no longer rely on expensive and costly modes of transport.

I have also ordered the Cabinet to look into the possibility of an electric vehicle project in order to save costs such as trams and other electric vehicles. Trams are effectively used in metropolitan areas. Thanks to its effectiveness, businesspersons and traders can get from one place to another quickly. They can get to urban areas, communities, workplaces, and important places in the capital. Many provinces across the country have already introduced and adopted this idea.

We will also need to reorganize public vans and the motorcycle taxi system to adhere to safety regulations and be able to connect with other public transportation systems, including those of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority and electric train systems.

The management of these transportation systems in the past has been done without an integrative mindset and lacked connectivity. This has resulted in the system we have today, with its inefficient routing, project delays, and lack of transparency.

I’m not saying these issues were the result of only corruption. Many have to do with the lack of policy coherence between governments. This lack of a unified strategic plan has resulted in a lack of continuity and connectivity.

This administration, therefore, aims to connect all systems while it is in office, focusing on urgent matters and laying the foundations for long-term agendas to be carried on by the next administration in order to benefit the public in the future.

However, the most important solution to the traffic issues is a sense of awareness and respect for traffic laws. This entails generosity on the road, not parking in no-parking zones, knowing the right of way, among other things. Addressing the traffic issues also includes reforming law enforcement to prevent corruption as well as conflicts between agencies and the public. All these things will contribute to reducing road accidents and traffic congestions.

We will gradually address various issues within our limited budget. Meanwhile, we will create a blueprint for future governments to take on, so that the country’s budget is utilized systematically without damaging the country’s finances.

For many problems that we see now, we could have avoided them had there been continuously laid out and carried out plans that addressed issues at their root cause instead of only addressing the symptoms.

Most recently, smoking in taxis, whether it is the passenger or the driver section has now been made illegal. This law has taken affect since September 1.

As for the recent committee meeting of the Board of Investment, 3 important measures have been approved.

1. It has been agreed to support investments in 34 projects in 6 industries, as a whole, valued over 270 billion baht. These projects are expected to encourage the use of over 160 billion baht in raw materials in addition to creating a supply chain for products and services both locally and at the national level.

2. It has been agreed to promote the country’s medical industry, or Thailand as a medical Hub, which is one of the country’s 10 target industries. According to government policy, incentives will be given towards the production of medicine, which may include tax exemptions to corporate income as well other exemptions to companies that produce medical equipment.

In addition to making Thailand the region’s medical hub, this agenda will promote better health and economic stability in the country, as it would increase access to medicine and equipment while reducing the trade deficit from previously having to import these items. I have also approved a budget that supports domestic research and production, as long as they are able to meet international standards.

3. It has approved measures to support model cities, called “triangles of stability, prosperity, and sustainability,” as economic and social development projects to the southern border provinces. These cities consist of NongChik District in Pattani Province for hybrid farming, Betong District in Yala Province for economic self-sufficiency, and Su-ngaiKolok District in Narathiwat Province for border trade.

The meeting also approved incentives for investing in the 3 cities, consisting of reductions in transportation, electricity and plumbing costs, as well as a 90 percent reduction in import duties for raw materials for the next 10 years. Sometimes we are unable to utilize domestic materials and must therefore provide this 10-year benefit in order to incentivize investment.

I have also emphasized that agencies must consider both foreign and domestic investors, including existing investors in the area. There cannot be any disputes between these 3 potential investors. Instead, there must be a push towards integration, especially in the southern border provinces.

The government must support existing investments in order to further attract investments while ensuring that it causes minimal impact to the locals and ensuring that appropriate compensation is given to those who are affected. We must examine the conditions of each location and find ways for local communities to be able to benefit from investments. On the other hand, foreign investment won’t happen if there is no political stability or if the safety of their lives and property is not guaranteed.

However, in order to increase the economic well-being of low-income earners, comprehensive connectivity must be established for our country’s economy, whether it is trade, investment, import-export and other industries. We need to create comprehensive connectivity as opposed to each sector doing its own thing. If we are able to succeed in this, people will be empowered and incomes will rise.

Once we achieve this connectivity, we will be able to expand to our CLMV neighbors as well as other countries. Another agenda is the construction of dual track railways, both 1 meter in length and 1.425 meters in length, which is the new standard. We must construct both lengths in order for the trains to carry more loads and travel faster. It is necessary that we construct both 1 meter tracks as well as 1.425 meter tracks. The claim that we should only construct high speed rails is a distortion of facts.

We need to achieve all of these agendas; otherwise we won’t be able to attract investors. There may be some activists that only look at one side of the argument while not considering how the country and its people will need to thrive. You may not fully understand the issues at hand; the implications of your actions and how some issues have an international dimension to them and thus to your own country.

Therefore, the development of job and career opportunities will not progress unless there is also progress made in the way we perceive things. We have to look at our own position in the context of international rules and regulations, and we must cultivate our potential accordingly. Until today we have wasted much of our time conflicting with each other. We must now work to rebuild confidence.

As for solving the security problems in the Southern provinces, the situation is a concern for all of us, especially the government. First of all, I would like to inform you that the key to success in this resolving this issues rests with the public, NGO’s, public agencies, academics, and students altogether both in and outside the area. The media, as well, needs to understand the nature of this predicament and take part in providing solutions and in contributing constructive suggestions.

This is a complicated matter where a definite timeline of resolution cannot be easily defined. This is a longstanding and complex issue that is hard to untangle. What we need to do today is ensure the safety of our citizens and continue with all aspects of development efforts. Important considerations are as follows:

The first issue that we must address is the need for people in the 3 southern border provinces and 4 districts of Songkhla Province to travel. People need to be able to go about their normal activities 24 hours. It is the responsibility of authorities to increase their monitoring of all areas at all times. People who need to work are all vulnerable targets. We need to employ large numbers of law enforcement personnel, including police, soldiers, and civilians that have been trained before conducting their duties.

These officials are also limited in their scope of security monitoring because people require freedom in going about their usual lives as well. Unlike how some other countries crack down and use violence, Thailand will not do this. The authorities are scrutinized in their work, especially regarding law enforcement. Some people may see certain things as an infringement upon human rights. Therefore, authorities need to be very cautious.

Another issue is maintaining the natural state/conditions of communities. Some areas consist of many routes and rubber farms. Therefore, authorities must divide their personnel across all major and secondary routes while the public go about their lives. This is an issue that we are mindful of.

Another issue is language limitations in many areas due to the prevalent use of local languages as the main form of communication.

Therefore, basic education in the area has some improvements to be made. Many schools that are in the government program still need improvement, as many schools still focus only on religion. I would like these schools to adopt basic education in addition to religious studies. In this way, alumni from such schools will be able to find jobs and have accreditation for continuing education. I’m tasking the Ministry of Education to consider this matter.

Another issue is poverty in the area. Some are rubber harvesters or are hired hands and may not be able to afford sending their children to school. They often prefer sending their children to religious schools that many not offer basic education. The government is trying to reform this issue but it also requires cooperation and understanding. We will provide the necessary funding based on your cooperation with the government.

The second major issue I would like to shed light on is that we have a total of 9 strategic plans for solving the problems in the south in an integrated matter. Today, as the head of government and the NCPO, I’ve been able to bring spearhead the efforts by all sectors and agencies involved. This is how we must move forward in implementing the 9 strategic plans.

These plans include building a safe and happy society, eliminating conditions, creating understanding and trust, continuous development while preserving the uniqueness and way of life, coexisting in diversity, societal participation in solving the problems, incorporating support from other countries, creating an environment suitable for peace talks, effective management of the region, implementing ISOC’s security policy and the SBPAC’s development plan.

There are other measures apart from these strategic plans, such as Royal projects, relocation projects, and programmes for rehabilitating wrongdoers and providing protection under the justice system. Many people live under fear and it is our duty to ensure safety for all. We need to ensure safety for those that feel that they have been threatened. This is what we need to continuously work on.

The third issue is how perpetrators attempt to coerce the government with the use of violent crimes that result in deaths, injuries, loss of property, and damages to the local economy. This prompts a mandatory reaction by law enforcement agencies for the sake of public safety, which is then called by the conflicting side as an abuse of power. If people are still using violence like this, this crisis would never end.

We need to bring the conflict under the justice system. As I have said, there are many channels that the government is willing to use to cooperate with, as long as there is no more violence. Another issue is criticism that has caused damage to the region, from those who do not come from the region and have no local knowledge about issues. If we listen to the locals, we can get a clearer understanding  of what is going on. I understand that people are concerned and have good intentions, but ungrounded criticism can affect how officers do their jobs which can then jeopardize their work.

In addition to violence, there is also regular criminal activity that can happen in any place, such as selling contraband, smuggling, organized crime, local conflicts of interests, etc.

These are longstanding problems are often connected to family feuds. Some have exploited the presence of officials and have used them as tools to dispose of rival groups by spreading false tip-offs. This exploitation of a conflict for personal gain is another complexity of the issue in the south.

The fourth issue is how certain academics are expressing their opinions on the situation by citing infringements on human rights. I ask that people examine the factual details of existing legislation on these matters before making claims like this, as it will damage the country. We must consider the number of deaths of innocent bystanders and law enforcement officials.

This includes other illegal activities as well whether they infringe against regular or special laws. These issues must go through normal procedures with cooperation from the public instead of only going through the NGOs. These organizations already play a positive role on certain issues and these are the things we should focus on. There has been some pressure from the NGOs for the government not to use law enforcement measures. These are often premised on human rights issues, in spite of the fact that normal laws are only being applied.

There has also been much distortion of facts in order to instigate a religious conflict between the Buddhists and Muslims who have lived together in peace for a long time. The last time this happened we found documents that edited out portions in favor of Buddhists. If we removed all religious portions, people would be upset and wouldn’t accept the new constitution. This really happened. However, we must not be misguided by distorted history. When it comes to history we need to learn what we can from it. We need to peacefully coexist.

Another issue is about those who denounce the government by claiming that the government doesn’t know how to solve existing problems. Some people will only see things their way and may not understand. Sometimes, things are said with good intentions but they can also cause tensions to needlessly escalate. Whatever the case may be, I have never hidden anything from you regarding the situation. So we encourage you to come re-engage and help in any way you can.

Another issue is that of border demarcations. Some problems are still unclear, especially in the south where unauthorized border crossings have become prevalent. Our officials have been compelled to watch over government buildings, schools, teachers, roads and various other establishments. On top of that, they have to watch over the forests. We will use as much manpower as necessary, but we ask that the public render their cooperation as well. Many surveillance techniques must be adapted to function with better technology and equipment. We are quickly pushing for more CCTV cameras and facial recognition software.

Now that we have addressed the security issues, we also have to address development problems. Once again, officials will have to step up their efforts. Soldiers who have been stationed there will have to aid the locals in development in addition to their regular assignments. There are not enough police in the area so this is a necessity. No one will know better than the locals as to what is needed for the community. This is why we need cooperation, in particular for matters that involve the law. Village elders, mayors, SAO and PAO must work with the soldiers to solve problems that the SBPAC can’t work on their own with. The government will lend support where it can. This is why I am here today; to implement policy in all sectors with integration. It is also mperative that cooperation with the government is sincere and is done without ulterior motives.

As for peace talks – this is something many people want us to sort out as fast as we can. This is just not possible at the current time because this sort of thing has to go through a specific process. If we try to get it done too quickly, someone might be able to utilize potential loopholes and we would end up creating even more violence.

Another issue many people have asked about is why we don’t just send the entire army to solve all the problems at once. This is also something that we can’t do. The armed forces serve to protect the peace of this nation. They are tasked with looking after our vulnerable areas, our borders, and upholding the law. So we must use normal laws as a basis for peace and security. If an injustice has been committed, then inform the government and we will investigate. Whether military or civilian, if have broken the law, then they will be processed accordingly.

If we used excessive force, it would feel like a war. This will only intensify the conflict. This is why all officials must be vigilant in their use of the law and of protecting themselves. Having more weapons is not the answer. Officials, police, and civilians alike are all susceptible. If you use a weapon against an official or a police officer then they will be forced to defend themselves appropriately.

Now, with regards to the revoking of the special laws such as the Security Act, the Emergency Act and martial laws, you have to realize that many areas are still dangerous. That we are all able to work in these areas is because of these special laws.  Regular laws aren’t meant for this kind of situation. At the same time, these special laws aren’t meant to harass the innocent, so there is no need to be afraid. Section 44 falls under the same line of reasoning. If you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to worry about. If we change the laws in some areas, the ones that would instigate violence would simply move to those areas and set up a base for combat training, recruitment, and deployment.

Some areas seem little affected right now and so this is why you have asked us to lift these laws. We can’t do this because those people would take advantage of the situation. We must address this issue first by including the public in our decision making process and helping them earn a better living. We must encourage good citizens to dissuade the offenders and incorporate them back into society and under the law. This is the only long term solution. I ask that the public, the NGOs, and human rights organizations understand our intentions. Thai laws must be respected as we respect all international laws.

Another important issue is the using of areas outside of the country as a meeting place for perpetrators. We have received much cooperation from our neighboring friends on this matter. They have always given us their cooperation, in particular in our peace talks.

Something we must be careful about is linking this with terrorist extremists. Today, officials have been investigating into the matter but haven’t been able to pinpoint anything so far. And yet, people have been spreading rumors and asking why we have questioned certain individuals. We are trying to solve these problems with our own efforts, and bring you out of poverty and under the protection of the law. Still there are many groundless accusations made.

I ask that all sectors of media help Thai people understand this. We are not harassing anyone because of their religion nor have we infringed on anyone’s rights. These claims only cause problems to escalate. I ask that you all understand this. No matter what, the government will take responsibility for solving this problem. To start with, we must see the problem the same way, and understand the steps taken to deal with it. We must have collaboration.

Please refrain from making false statements on security matters without considering all the facts. You may not understand military or police procedures and practices, but you should let the authorities do their jobs. We must cooperate with one another and not make unsupported claims about human rights violations. That will exacerbate the problem, not solve it. This will create more strife, and even more problems for the officials to deal with. They have already been working very hard around the clock. I have already said that we have many different goals. We are trying to look after everyone, no matter where they live, or what religion they believe in.

These officials are giving their all for you. They have sacrificed their own personal happiness and some of them have suffered for it. Please be considerate. They are not doing this for their own benefit. I have never done this for any personal gain, and neither does this government. I used to be a soldier doing the same things they are now, so I know what they are going through.

This is not being done for the sake the government or the NCPO. Now that I am a part of the government as the Prime Minister and the leader of the NCPO, I have to try and understand every side whether it is the army, the civilians, or the police, because now I am on everyone’s side. I am on the side of Thailand and we need to work together if we are going to fix the problems in the south.

In other matters, budget allocation for the government, as well as that of other agencies, in order to stimulate the economy has already been assessed. As of the start of the 2016 fiscal year to that of the third quarter of the same year, we have found that there has been a 78.02 percent increase in target areas which is significantly higher than our initial aim of 4.93. This assessment is based on the success of many projects undertaken by the government. As for corruption cases and allegations, all are being investigated and any additional evidence will be used.

Government projects such as,

(1) the measures to promote well-being at the village level have utilized credit for the village funds at 98.76 percent. Over 3 million people have benefited from this. This will be an ongoing project as our population is steadily increasing.

(2) The measures to increase income for the lower income earners -this has resulted in rice farmers receiving 1,000 baht per rai of land for investment costs. This has already been completed at 99.88 percent of the target which has benefited over 3.6 million people. Please continue to operate honestly. If there are no problems with corruption, the officials won’t have to waste their time dealing with them.

(3) Reduced interest agricultural loans so farmers would have more money for living expenses – This has already provided aid to over 600,000 people.

(4) The sale delay program for rice from the 2015-2016 production year – this has resulted in over 500,000 tons of rice being sold which has benefited over 70,000 people.

(5) The government has developed irrigation systems across over 170,000 rai. This has allowed us to store an increased 153 million cubic meters of water as well as create 19,000 wells for those who live outside of the irrigation areas, to address the agricultural water problem.

I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to the people, the officials, and the various groups that have helped us drive this country forward according to the Pracharat model. I know all of you are tired but I see also that you are happier. However, our work continues. Today, I see Deputy Prime Ministers, government officials, and the private sector giving it their all but it is still hard for them to build understanding amongst those who aren’t interested. And so it falls to me to explain. You should listen to them as well. You should read the whole newspaper, not just the front page. The front page may aim to grab your attention with conflict and controversy, but it’s the inside that contains the substantive details.

I always hope to see all of you happier when I go on site visits. This gives me profound encouragement. All of us share the same goals. Please help us move this country forward.

Finally, in September the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in collaboration with the ICT will bring you a new “digital agricultural market” at the Klong Padung market under the banner:

“Advanced Technology Advancing Thailand”. The event will take place between September 5-25 in order to disseminate knowledge in the application of ICT in supporting the agricultural sector,  as well as related businesses. In addition, visitors will also learn about how to use new digital approaches which we are currently incorporating in our own efforts to drive the country forward. Online trading is an excellent tool for direct marketing, allowing farmers to earn more on their own. This is part of the “Thailand 4.0 approach” for the people.

The market will divided into four main zones,

(1) The digital zone which will feature IT products, smart phones, and computers.

(2) Digital agricultural zone for online trading. This also includes product traceability using QR codes which is very important for these kinds of perishable products. Without GI, they might not sell in the future.

(3) The organic agricultural zone. This zone will focus on expediting the registration of GI products. It will indicate the geographical location of the product from Thailand’s 49 provinces. 67 products have already been registered but other many other things still have to be registered too. These are currently being examined in order to maintain high standards for their future registration. I have instructed all provinces to increase the value of their products so they can register as soon as possible. This includes adding value to processed products by meeting inspection standards. This has to be the first step for many working groups.

(4) The zone for demonstration activities, financial accounting training, sales and marketing, enhancing innovation, processing, and business and SME consulting. I would like to invite all of us to attend this event and support the agricultural products and the local farmers of Thailand.

We should try to help them out where we can and that includes buying their produce. With the money they earn, they’ll be able to go back and take care of their families. I am very proud of this market and the popularity it has garnered. We have organized 22 events which have seen over 3,000 participating members and over 2 million visitors. In total, the market has generated revenue of 1.257 billion baht. I am very pleased to see entrepreneurs both old and young, with ideas both big and small achieve success. Thank you all for your role in developing our country.

Thank you very much. Sawasdee Krup.