From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals – December 2, 2016
Good evening, dear Thai citizens.
For more than 7 decades, Thailand has had stability and prosperity under the benevolence of the Monarchy and for more than 7 decades, the Thai people have been blessed with peacefulness and happiness under the Reign of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned with the Virtues of the Righteous King, for the genuine benefits and happiness of the Siamese people, as according to the Royal Oath that was carried out throughout his reign.
At this moment, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who had been entrusted by his Royal Father to be the Heir to the Throne for over 44 years, has graciously accepted the invitation to ascend to the throne as His Majesty King Rama X of the Chakri Dynasty, to continue to His Majesty’s aspirations and to carry on the King’s Philosophy of His Majesty King Rama IX.
I have the honour to invite all of us, to come together and wish for the exaltedness of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej to safeguard His Majesty the new King, and for His Majesty to be blessed with longevity as the heart and soul of the Thai people, and bring development to our nation, as a democratic system with HM the King as the Head of State, for the prosperity, peacefulness, and unity of the Thai nation.
Dear Thai people, over many years, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Thailand has initiated several development projects which have incorporated the King’s Philosophy and brought much benefit to the people across the country. One such example is the Mobile Agricultural Clinic project, which was graciously bestowed the Royal symbol by HRH The Crown Prince, and is a project that stresses the importance of agro-technologies and innovation to increase productivity and thereby stimulate the domestic economy through the agricultural sector.
The project helps to connect research and development with targeted or specific groups of farmers. It gives farmers advice and useful knowledge about agriculture and provides analyses as well as solutions to problems. It lends farming equipment to farmers in need and caters to all farmers’ needs by teaching them to adapt to new challenges. Activities included in the project are as follows.
1) A Plant Clinic which helps farmers to deal with the problems of pests, insects, chemical substances and residues, lack of nutrients, and agrochemicals.
2) A Soil Clinic which analyzes and improves soil and fertilizers.
3) A Cattle Clinic which cures animal diseases, provides heath checkups and vaccinations to cattle herds.
4) A Fisheries Clinic which gives advice and education about fish farming, fish diseases, and how to improve the quality of water.
5) An Accounting Clinic which teaches farmers to keep track of their spending for better management.
6) An Irrigation Clinic which teaches farmers about water management.
7) A Cooperative Clinic which helps farmers to build a strong network through a cooperatives system.
And 8) A Law Clinic which offers legal advice to farmers.
In addition, His Majesty King Rama X had personally donated a plot of land totaling 1,350 rai in Mae Rim district, Chiang Mai, to the Ministry of Agriculture, to be used for activities under the Mobile Agricultural Clinic and to disseminate and make use of the results of research and studies of the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Center, which was initiated by King Rama IX.
The idea is to use 70 percent of forest land for the development of agro-tourism and agroforestry, where visitors are also allowed to hike through forest areas. The remaining 30 percent of the land will be used for learning centers and the development of integrated agricultural demonstrations, which covers soil and water conservation, soil rehabilitation, water sources development, and career development.
Furthermore, deteriorating forest areas will be turned into agricultural zones and community food banks while water sources will be preserved for facilitating traditional herb cultivation. The area also serves as a natural food source for nearby communities.
At present, the area has expanded its role into a service and education center, providing training to local farmers and giving useful suggestions, such as on the seeding of fast-growing plants. The plants will be given to members of the community who will use them for household purposes. The center also encourages the people to resort to biomass fuels and other fuels as a replacement for conventional energy sources.
Not only does this approach reduce the use of firewood, it also instills a love and appreciation for nature conservation among the people. With this, the people will be able to effectively manage natural resources and the environment, in accordance with the King’s Philosophy, which advocates the creation of an innate will among the people to protect nature and rehabilitate forests.
In addition to His Royal initiatives on agriculture, which have served to elevate the quality of life of farmers, His Majesty has always placed great importance on education and had initiated education scholarships in accordance with His aspirations to enhance knowledge and opportunities for youths,
especially students living in poverty who have demonstrated upstanding citizenship and have academic potential. This can be seen as an investment in human resources so that students can develop their potentials, through opportunities for quality education, and so that social disparities can be reduced in the future.
His Majesty then established the Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn Scholarship Fund, along with the guidelines for selecting potential candidates to receive educational scholarships, starting from the high school as well as the vocational school level. These students were funded all the way until completing their bachelor’s degrees in fields that coincided with their capabilities, and career aspirations.
Most importantly, His Majesty has ensured that such scholarships are awarded equally among the genders and throughout the provinces. Currently, over 1,000 students are studying under His Majesty’s scholarship.
Correspondingly, the government has also placed great importance on developing the country’s human resources and enhancing the country’s competitiveness by reforming the education system to be able to adapt to developments of the 21st century, particularly through emphasizing creativity and critical thinking skills.
A key policy includes the “reduce class time, increase learning time” program, which reduces the time spent on passive learning and encouraging more active learning, which entails self-learning both inside and outside the classroom.
Given this, curriculum structures should aim to create understanding and make students internalize what they’ve learned by giving them the opportunity to implement their knowledge in their daily life and solve practical problems.
Dear Thai citizens, the United Nations has declared December 3rd of every year as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I would, therefore, like to share with you the story of Mr Chuang Pothiran, a 68-year-old blind person and graduate of the Bangkok School for the Blind, which was established by HM King Rama IX.
This school was established to improve and develop the potential of blind people and provide them with educational opportunities. As a result, many have been granted scholarships to study at universities abroad. Today, there are several blind people who have received PhDs.
In addition, HM King Bhumibol had always wished to encourage the blind to have the resolve to overcome adversity and live life to the fullest. His Majesty therefore composed a song in dedication to the blind titled “Yimsu” which has now become a song that encourages people from all walks of life to work hard and overcome their obstacles.
There had been many times that HM King Bhumibol, along with HM Queen Sirikit and members of the Royal Family, traveled to visit the Bangkok School for the Blind during the New Years. Mr Ratchata Mongkol, a graduate of the school, had also told us that
HM King Bhumibol had often visited the school and played with the blind children without telling them who They were. HM King Bhumiphol merely referred to himself as “Phol” and also taught the children music and played the saxophone for everyone at the school.
From this, it can be seen that the Kings Philosophy places importance on all matters, even if they may appear to be a minor issue. For example, many may see the water hyacinth problem as a problem that doesn’t affect them that much, or that the plants are cheap and worthless. However, water hyacinth can be turned into feed, fertilizer and even handbags.
However, today, over 6 million tons of water hyacinth across the country pose as a major problem to the environment and to many communities. High concentrations will thus increasingly deprive water of oxygen and clog irrigation canals, causing floods and blocking the flow of maritime traffic.
His Majesty King Rama IX once gave a Royal Address on December 4, 1992. In it, he spoke about how much he cared about the Thai people and the increasingly worrying environmental issues that were affecting Thailand and the rest of the world.
The National Environment Board from the Ministry of Science and Technology has therefore proposed that December 4th of every year to be recognized as “Thailand Environment Day”.
This year, this Board is tackling the issue of the water hyacinths. The Ministry of interior has approved this endeavor and have partnered with the Department of Public Works and the City Planning Department to establish the “Volunteers Fixing the Hyacinth Problem” project. This will take place on Thailand Environment Day across the country.
There will are 2 main phases to tackle the water hyacinth issue.
1. Measures to eradicate the plant through removal, across a time period of 6 months (Oct. 16 – Mar. 17). The goal here is to remove 6 million tons across Thailand.
2. Measures to prevent the plant from spreading. This will be done at the local district level, as well as the provincial level. The public will also be made aware of the risks of the plant and what they can do to help. This phase will also support the donation of canoes and flat bottom boats, once an area has been cleared of the water hyacinth. We must ensure that this problem does not recur as we filter it out, collect it, and find a use for it.
Lastly, I would like to ask the Thai people to take pride in our very own Jasmine rice, which has been named the best tasting rice in the world once again in an international rice contest in Chiangmai on November 18th.
The judging criteria examined 4 key areas including: smell, taste, texture, and form, in a blind test to ensure that favoritism did not occur.
The judging panel was made up of international food experts, and famous chefs from around the world. This is good encouragement for our farmers. It is a considerable feat to have the best rice in the world and to retain that title for a second time in a row.
I ask that our farmers and related sector continue to develop and improve the standard of our jasmine rice to increase its value through quality. This also holds true for all of our other local rices, which are popular organic produce for consumers around the world as well.
Another point I would like to highlight is how we are working together through the “Pracharat” approach in order to build resilience, enhance competitiveness, reduce disparities, and progress beyond the ‘middle income’ barrier. Please consider the Infographic below. It contains additional details, and the main points are:
1. Using the Pracharat mechanism to promote community enterprise and large plot agriculture, through brand building and introducing international standards of production.
2. Creating a value chain that addresses supply and demand both within Thailand and internationally. This will strengthen the grassroots economy, all the cycles, from ‘upstream’ to ‘downstream’.
3. Creating a new production and industry chain, whereby the connections are the 5 S-Curves and 5 New S-Curves. This will lead the way to the Thailand 4.0 era through new technology, research, and innovation which will result in advanced industrial production.
4. Driving forward the new digital economy to reduce trade obstacles and facilitate international trade as much as possible.
Given this, the results of the government’s efforts during 2014-2016 under the vision of “stability, prosperity, and sustainability” has yielded the following important developments,
1. Requests for investment promotion for 5,000 projects worth 2.2 billion baht.
2. Projects that have applied for promotion include 54% of the 10 target industries, including in the digital industry which has high potential.
3. Promoting the integration of provincial clusters. The Committee on Economic Development and Pracharat will continue to search for that specific “identity” in each region across the country and propose the ways to promote it.
We are coming into the Thai winter season now. The weather is changing and the government is concerned for the people. So I ask that you all take care of yourselves and your families and stay warm. The public and private sectors will work together to do the best we can to provide relief from the cold, as according to the plans that have been prepared. We will do our best to reach all areas and work with integration as we avoid the duplication of work.
It’s important to stay healthy. Be sure to exercise regularly to keep your body strong and reduce the risks of getting sick, which will also reduce medical bills in the end. A healthy person will work better and think better, which is in line with the saying “A healthy mind and soul resides in a health body”. When the entire population is strong this way, the country will be stronger too.
Thank you very much. I wish you all a happy weekend.