From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals – March 24, 2017
Good evening dear Thai citizens.
We have had good news for Thailand this week. First is that Thai boxer “Srisaket Nakhon Luang Promotion” captured the WBC super flyweight championship, which made history for Thailand and brought joy to the Thai people.
I congratulate the winner and admire his commitment and toughness for beating the former world champion. The path to his title wasn’t easy. It took determination, hard training, and the will to win. Thai youths should see him as a role model. A much harder task lies ahead, which is to defend his championship. Every Thai should thus offer him moral support and cheer him on, and this also goes for every Thai athlete.
Another piece of good news is the report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), under the United Nations, which shows that Thailand is the 32nd happiest country in the world, 1 notch higher than the previous year. The survey takes into account GDP per capita, life expectancy, freedom to make life decisions, generosity in society, and the degree of non-corruption in government or business.
I would like to see Thai people take pride in this, as we take another step to success. We shall make progress step by step, which bodes well for Thailand’s stature among other countries. So let us work together so that these positive developments are maintained. Instead of arguing with each other or misleading each other, let us develop together and help each other in addressing our common problems, especially for our children’s future.
Another important issue that concerns the public and is a government priority is the waste management problem. We have made this a national agenda and it also a topic of key concern for international society.
Last week, the National Environment Committee mobilized a project to create a system that turns waste into energy. It is called “Refuse – Derived Fuel” or RDF. The project also produces organic fertilizers derived from Thai-owned technology. The project is financed under the 2016 fiscal budget and has proven successful in many areas. This is the first time we can acknowledge a tangible solution to the waste-to-energy problem.
In the past, Thailand was not able to treat waste the correct way, usually dumping it in landfills until it became a monument of waste. This time, the government is integrating the efforts from 5 ministries to implement 4 key policies.
The first policy is to turn waste into energy, an initiative that helps protect our environment by recycling waste and turning it into power and electricity for the industrial sector. This policy is in alignment with the National Strategy to improve people’s living standards in an environmentally-friendly manner. This waste management effort must make substantive progress within 2017.
The second policy is to promote the registry of Thai innovations. This is one of our mechanisms to connect research findings and innovations, with the help of the Thai Research Fund and the Ministry of Energy, and make the best use of them in a commercial platform.
The technique that we are using to treat waste derived from an innovation from the Suranaree University of Technology. This is an example of how we can put research findings to good and effective use. The Ministry of Science and Technology will be the agency certifying the technology and the Finance Ministry will set up the standard price. At the same time, the government has to prevent corruption through bid rigging. I see this is as a good example of putting academic knowledge into practice.
The third policy is the “Pracharat” approach wherein academics provide knowledge and technology, while the government provides support to budgets and communities. SCG has already agreed to purchase such waste treatment systems created by Thai researchers. This is a way to make communities stronger, not only in terms of the economy, but also for the preservation of our environment.
The fourth policy is the “Thailand 4.0” concept which encourages people to adopt innovations to their daily lives, on the basis of environmental protection. Findings by Thai researchers are very useful for the development of the nation. The concept of Thailand 4.0 is linked with every aspect of life and every member of the society, not particular individuals or groups.
Not only does the waste-to-energy project address environmental issues in Thailand, it also complies with global environmental policy in two aspects including 1) it reduces greenhouse gasses such as methane which causes temperatures to rise,
And 2) it encourages a green economy and green business activities that allows citizens to have better living standards. It also helps maintain ecological balance and protects natural resources.
I’d like to commend the National Environment Committee and other responsible agencies for actively implementing these policies. I’d like to see every unit work together to ensure high performance for the benefit of the people and the nation. I’d like to reiterate that the government and the National Council for Peace and Order will do our best to address our long-standing problems for our nation’s stability, prosperity, and sustainability.
Dear citizens, there remain many problems and challenges for the country and today I’d like to point out a few of them in order to raise awareness and ask for cooperation.
The first problem is the matter of town and city planning. This problem was ignored in the past and currently diminishes our ability to enforce many laws due to illegal occupations of land. This has been causing problems in both environmental protection and city development, not to mention the blocking of natural waterways, which has lead to flooding in many situations.
When our city planning efforts cannot be completed, it has an effect on other reforms. Add to this encroachment problems and refusals to cooperate with the law, and sometimes even the use of nominees by businessmen to obstruct land reforms. For these reasons, the government has formulated a strategy to “improve quality of life based on environmental preservation”, which is one of our 6 strategies under the 20-year National Strategy.
There is no denying that these changes will affect some people. There will be consequences because we have ignored what was right for a long time. But I assure you that it is for the greater good. You may be affected in the beginning, but you will be compensated. In the long run, everybody will be better off.
As for the technical aspects of the matter, many agencies are using uneven or different scales on their maps. The scales are not compatible. These maps could’ve been created at different times and could’ve been used for different purposes. Some agencies use new maps while others use old maps, causing problems and many overlapping areas. Some maps are outdated. Conflicting maps can also open doors for corruption practices. Therefore, these maps have to be redrafted.
For this reason, the government is accelerating the revision of all maps by having agencies use the same scale which is 1:4,000. It is called One Map. This is not to say that One Map will be used for every single purpose. It will be used as a basis. Then we can compare One Map to other maps and look for overlapping or conflicting areas. Then we can revise it accordingly. This is part of the 20-year National Strategy which aims to create balance and improve public administration in a sustainable way. This is also one of the six strategies to provide sustainable solutions for the country’s lingering problems.
The second issue is mega infrastructure projects, where the government and the private sector have to make sure that every process is within the legal framework, based on fair competition, transparency, and bribery free. Corruption is a major problem that has been around for a long time. The government has thus made tackling corruption a national agenda and is keen to address this problem quickly.
Law enforcement and preventing our society from corruption practices should not only be left to the government, responsible officials, independent organizations, and related agencies. I believe it is also the duty of the public to be vigilant and to expose corruption.
Corruption has a negative impact on everyone in the country, whether it be receivers, givers, the government and the private sector. Therefore we all have to cooperate and understand this. We have to work together and move past this point.
Independent agencies are tasked with investigating into corruption claims and then reaching a final conclusion on such matters. I don’t want to see people who don’t speak up putting the blame on others. Corruption cases will have to be proven with evidence. However, if everyone thinks it’s none of your business, nothing will improve.
On the matter of investments for the future, this is part of our strategy to build national stability and strengthen our competitive edge. Here the prevention and suppression of corruption is a crucial factor for investors. Hence, we have to take it seriously and on a long-term basis.
So far, things have been improving step by step in this dimension. However, all our corruption problems will not be fixed immediately. It concerns the revision of related laws, measures, procurement processes, and other procedures. We have to do it step by step.
Some anti-corruption measures have not been 100% effective. It can be 100%, however, when everyone helps out. Please report corruption practices at the early stage so that it doesn’t escalate and cause devastating damage. We have to do as much as we can now. We will need cooperation from state officials, civil servants, the private sector, and the public. If we start today, we can be successful in eradicating corruption in the future.
We must not let corruption thrive among us. Thus, raising public awareness about corruption is necessary and is one of the key strategies to develop our human resources.
For this matter, I’d like to ask cooperation from all NGOs when looking into investments for the development of the country, which need to have balance with the preservation of our natural resources and the environment. Without this balance, people will not have a decent quality of life.
The strategies that I just presented are part of the 20-year National Strategy. They provide a guideline in a broader sense, as an overarching framework. Successive governments will thus have to come up with activities/policies that are in line with these strategies. So come up with these projects and in the future, you can implement them based on the strategy. This is how we move forward with public administration. We can no longer do our jobs without referring to the strategic plan as there will be no connectivity between our policies. This is why the strategy is necessary. It can also be adjusted according changing global conditions.
The third matter is the issue of education – as I have mentioned this several times, the key to our human resource development is to enhance analytical thinking that is also based on principles. The lack of principles is the source of all our problems. If we have the right principles and apply them to how we think, we will be able to consult with each other and make progress together. This will be helpful to our national development.
Developed countries place great emphasis on human resource development. This is why they are so successful. Therefore we have to urgently address this, so that our human resources develop with effective education that underscores the right principles and values within our analytical abilities.
At the same time, there are other beliefs which are advocated by people who do not have good intentions and only seek power and personal gains. These are selfish individuals who believe that uneducated and low-income earners are easy to rule, thus having no urge to help them out. These people don’t create opportunities for the underprivileged, thinking that it is easier this way. On the other hand, this government wishes for everyone to be able to think effectively.
Some problems stem from distrust or the lack of knowledge. In many cases people are often manipulated by those with vested interests. This government, on the other hand, has emphasized the King’s Philosophy to all aspects of our efforts to develop the nation’s human resources. We’ve made human resource development the heart and the focus of all our other strategies. Human resource development is the most important strategy of all the 6 national strategies.
The fourth issue pertains to the economy. Economic problems stem from many factors such as our economic structure, which hasn’t effectively supported the connectivity of small, medium, large businesses, cooperatives, and community enterprises. This is why not enough value was added within our production chains.
It didn’t contribute to the whole economic system. Oftentimes, the government and the private sector had different viewpoints, hence the lack of mutual support. In fact, should all meet in the middle for a win-win situation where the government gains, the country gains, the private sector gains, and the people gain. We have to make positive changes in our economy.
Moreover, some of our laws (which are needed for transparency, equality, and free trade) are outdated and inapplicable to today’s world. This is another obstacle to business operations.
It also opens up doors for corrupt officials and dishonest businessmen. If all things go according to the laws, international standards, in a transparent and fair manner, as the government is trying to do, then there will be no favoritism or biases. Everyone must protect the country’s and the people’s best interests. Some people claim that certain laws are to favor a particular group or people. This is not the intention of the government at all. You can you check for yourself.
The country’s economy is built on large businesses, cross-border businesses, domestic and foreign investments, SMEs, community enterprises, cooperatives, and traders. All of these have to be factored into our considerations. There has to be mutual support as well.
This is why we have to connect all the entities. This is what we are doing. This is a complex matter. So please stop spreading false information about the economy as it can be harmful. The government is responsible for giving support in terms of legislation, infrastructure, logistics, and information,
providing a platform that creates an economic chain inside the country and linking it with the outside world, and creating a business-friendly environment, building relations, trust, and confidence among the investors. Every investor has to plan to spend money. Without confidence, they will not invest and the economy will not improve.
We have to build trust in our country. So let us move on from trying to damage each other. Conflicts can only exacerbate the situation. Let’s work it out together. If you have good intentions, we are willing to work with you. Any mistake can come to affect every group in the economic chain.
This is what I would like everyone to understand and work together under the Pracharat approach, which has been implemented in many provinces. These provinces are moving forward. It is common that businesses seek to maximize their profits because they need to return profits to the shareholders and investors whereas consumers want the cheapest things and highest quality.
However, we all need to be more empathetic and understand each other. The government will have its role and ensure fairness, but we cannot force things in the market. As long the laws are broken, then businessmen are entitled to their actions. What businessmen can do is think about the consumers more, if consumers can afford your products. Thais should be able to afford Thai products. Prices should be affordable.
If we are empathetic, work together today and help each other, we will surely move forward together without leaving anyone behind. The government is ready to provide measures and support for every sector including civil servants, the public, and other groups in the chain.
For instance, the Ministry of Commerce is working to ensure fairness and contentment for the people. Many people may ask why don’t you just lower the prices or make it cheaper, or even reduce taxes. We cannot do that because it is free trade and protected by law. If we were to consider that we would have to write a new law. But we will do our best through 3 measures as follows.
The first measure is to monitor prices by inspecting retailers, food markets, department stores, making sure that consumers are not taken advantage of. This is what we can do. Items must be correctly labeled. Officials must also inspect weighing scales. We have a law to support this.
The second measure is to lower the burdens of low-income earners, such as construction workers and farmers, by hosting Blue Fair fairs. Blue Flag fairs are very modern today. They are located in many areas just like department stores. They offer everyday products with 15-20% discounts. Last year, Thai people saved up to 430 million baht because of the fairs.
The third measure is to bolster domestic economy by launching the “Nu Nich” project which aims to build a culture of good food consumption with the slogan “quality, clean, and cheap food.” The project serves ready-to-eat dishes at the price of no higher than 35 baht. There are more than 12,000 Nu Nich stores countrywide. More Nu Nich stores will be provided soon. And in the future, consumers will be able to download a mobile application to find Nu Nich stores in their areas.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Thailand and abroad should look into the facts about our development and the role of the government. A lot of things have changed in terms of state administration, ministry regulations, and the law. It is not ideal to only think about oneself or to only focus on protecting one own’s benefits while omitting the benefits of the whole or violating human rights, or destroying the nature.
These things concern the development of our nation. Please consider the interests of others as well. NGOs should play a part in making the right decisions for the maximum benefit of the whole nation. NGOs should support, probe, fix, and find a solution based on common ground. It is not productive to only criticize and do nothing else. The least you can do is help out. Everyone is willing to listen to you. Some ideas are right, some are not. This can lead to loss of confidence and trust, eventually resulting in unstable trade and investment for the country. You will then complain about the economy. Everything is interconnected. Let me know what you want me to fix.
Please don’t blindfold yourself and ignore weighing other options. There are pros and cons. You should try things out first before asking the government for support. We must focus on the greater good in terms of city planning, energy, water management, economic zones, ports, and airports. There are problems and issues in all sectors.
These problems have been ignored for a long time. People have illegally occupied public spaces. When the government tries to make things right, some people stage a protest, using excuses like they needed to make a living. What do you suggest we do? The economy will not improve if nothing at all is done. We cannot let people illegally occupy these areas. What about the development projects that have to be undertaken?
This is the result of our negligence in the past. We have to fix what we can now. We will be better off in the future. It may be fast or slow, but we have to help each other. Otherwise, there will be no development and nothing will change. Only problems will remain. There will be more people as well. The government will be then blamed for not having these projects done.
We have to make sure these development projects can be implemented for the benefit of the majority. Some people will be affected and will be taken care of. If every project is protested against, problems will follow. There will be floods and drought. We will not have enough reservoirs, no water drainage system, and no effective water distribution system. When these developments fail, the government will be blamed.
This government wants everything to be done correctly. We have drafted many projects but these projects have not been supported by the people. Some projects cannot be launched because people don’t have the understanding of what is going on. With protests, nothing will improve.
Please keep in mind that the government has a clear goal which is stability, prosperity and sustainability. Every project is open to scrutiny. We always let you know what we are doing. Even after we let you know what we are about to do, some people still don’t want these projects to be implemented. If we stick to the same old methods, nothing will move forward. Therefore, every policy is mobilized based on these 3 aspects, which are: protecting natural resources – water, soil, forest, air, and energy, addressing basic needs – creating jobs, generating incomes, and building stability for the nation.
All of these efforts are spearheaded from upstream to downstream. The government has considered this matter thoroughly. Sometimes we have to think about upstream activities before we know what midstream and downstream activities are going to be. Sometimes, problems have to be fixed from the downstream level and climb back to the upstream level.
This is how things should be done, from top to bottom. The middle is also important. Right now, we are in the midstream level, trying to prevent recurring problems. We are in the middle of the road and if we cannot clear the way, we will not reach the final destination. This is why we need to create balance and sustainability.
For instance, flooding and droughts cause huge damage to the farming sector, consumption by the public, ecosystems, marine animals, the invasion of saltwater, and the environment in estuaries. It is a problem if we don’t have sufficient natural supply. We also have to spare water to keep saltwater water away from our waterways. Without fresh water, saltwater will come deeper into the land. The soil will be salty too.
Therefore we must make best use of our water management budget by systematically integrating all our projects. This is because rainfall is uncertain and may not always be retained by our dams. Sometimes cloud seeding doesn’t work in certain areas that well and we aren’t able to generate enough rainfall.
Therefore we must redirect our efforts towards long-term solutions and utilize our reserves for assistance during times of drought. We must protect our natural resources, avoid disrupting the ecosystem, and assist our law enforcement officials in cracking down on violations.
If you break the law or officials fail to uphold regulations, both of you will be at fault. We must preserve the remaining forest land we have and prevent future encroachments. We must also create measures to retain water whether through dams or reservoirs.
Sometimes this is difficult because our projects are met with resistance by the locals. Therefore our water management efforts would not be fully carried out if we don’t also consider the ability to retain water of each region. If we don’t establish long-term water management solutions, what will happen is that we will experience damages in the long-run because we will continuously have to repair houses in flood prone areas.
If people are willing to make sacrifices and relocate their residences so that their homes don’t block irrigation paths, water will be allowed to efficiently flow into the sea and the people will be able to utilize this water along the way. This is how communities can rely on each other. This is a policy that the government is trying to move forward with. However, its success rests with the amount of cooperation the project receives from the residents.
We must enhance the efficiency of canals and water paths, both natural and man-made, by creating interconnected systems. This is an important priority because Thailand is an agricultural economy.
Many times, roads and pathways that were erected by new communities inadvertently obstruct the natural flow of water. Due to the lack of mobility of low income residences, they are reluctant to relocate. If we fail to plan in advance, these problems will continue to manifest into the issues we are faced with today.
Today, the Ministry of Interior is revising the urban blueprints of all 77 provinces. Therefore I invite all related parties to study this updated version. As I recall, before this administration, only between 10 to 18 provinces have actually planned out an effective urban blueprint. Such is the degree of how unequipped our cities were to handle water management.
However, urban blueprints can be years in the making and encroachments can occur in the meantime. Moreover, urban planning is an ever evolving process that must take into consideration contextual changes. However, it serves as an important guideline for residences and businesses to know the parameters of where they can expand their projects.
We must address our issues in a systematic manner, with sustainability in mind. Most importantly, we must maintain cooperation from communities. I do not want to overuse the power that I have today because I know many citizens are still poor and do not earn much.
I ask the NGOs as well to lend assistance to the government. It would be better if NGOs understand what we are doing and contribute by relaying the facts to the public. I have no issue with where you obtain your information, so long as you ask the government for the facts before jumping to conclusions. I only ask that you consider the credibility of the information sources. If your own information always runs contradictory to the governments, then cooperation will not ensue.
Therefore I ask everyone to seek out the facts. There are communities that have been constructed illegally. We must address this by using our urban blueprint as well as the legislative process. If we succumb to our old pitfalls, progress will not be made. I sincerely hope that NGOs will lend their cooperation.
It would be unconstructive to only oppose the government. Don’t forget that you are Thai and that your words can cause damage to this country. Some of your points are correct but most of them are not. I’m willing to address the real and substantive issues. However, if you are unable to relay the true problems to me, the government cannot provide a real solution. Please do this for the country.
Everyone has their own reasoning and thinking, but please don’t let this become an obstruction to community development. If we don’t implement these projects, we will not be able to achieve economic growth as well as wealth distribution. We need to create connectivity and make personal sacrifices while addressing long-standing issues. If we only address issues at the face value, we will be wasting a considerable amount of our budget each year towards addressing flooding and drought crises that could have been prevented.
We could have instead allocated that money towards irrigation canals and reservoirs. We need to be proactive in our solutions instead of relying on old methods. If we start today, we will be able to address these issues at the root cause. Through proper analysis we will be able to provide solutions at any stage of a problem. This is a simple principle that I would like to advocate.
6. Distorting facts – often times distorted information is propagated for dishonest political gains and social confusion. This has caused international bodies to scrutinize the country even more and create conflict among different groups in Thailand. As a result, the people fall into entrenched positions and a divisive society makes a country less stable.
With such disorderliness, conflicting views of many groups, many social inequalities, and conflict between political groups, our common goals cannot be attained. This is why we must create a National Strategy in the six agendas that I had highlighted earlier.
This government is trying to solve these issues through reforms, structural adjustment and strict law enforcement. I don’t want officials to be distressed by resistance to this, which can also undermine the credibility of the justice system. Don’t try to distort the facts behind official judicial rulings. Decisions of the courts must be final and all sides, including independent organizations, must respect the results. If you only question rulings that are not in your favor, then is this a legitimate critique on the judicial system?
I ask that people consider all sides of the argument and consider all facets of it issue in order to make more informed and thorough conclusions. When the facts are apparent to all, we would be able to reach a consensus and be able to refocus our attention towards moving this country forward.
Another example is the Land and Building Tax Act which the cabinet has approved. This is a piece of legislation that the government has pushed for that would lead to social equality by encouraging efficient use of land.
I have already said that any legislation on land tax must be designed to create socially quality and not be a burden for the majority of the people, especially low income earning citizens. On the other hand, many will benefit from this law due to better utilization of land and increased welfare because of an increase in revenue for the government. This legislation will serve as an investment in the country’s future.
I would like landowners to understand the government’s intentions. You may pay more in taxes today, but your land will appreciate in the future. In addition, you will be encouraged to rent out your land. On the other hand, tenants must adhere to leasing regulations. This is an important agenda that would contribute towards social equality and provide more opportunities for our citizens through better land allocation.
7. Decentralization of power – this is an important matter that has been discussed at length. First of all, people should understand the implications of decentralization. This entails autonomous governance among local administrations that will be able to manage their own budgets with minimal interference from the central government.
However, local administrations may not be ready for this transference of responsibility at this time. Many districts may see their populations asking why their tax money is going towards other areas of Thailand. We cannot think like this because we are all citizens of the same country. Our tax money must go towards bettering our whole nation and not just one province.
However, it may be problematic to implement too many taxes on low income provinces. Therefore, once this piece of legislation is passed, we must still make a practical decision on how this law will be carried out. However, increased taxes mean more revenue for the central government to allocate towards various projects. We have made considerable strides in this very complex and often confusing issue.
Meanwhile, I ask that provincial administrations reform their competencies. Before there can be decentralization of power, local administrations must prove that they are efficient and transparent. Right now, many local administrations are falling short of these goals and are under utilizing the budget that has been allocated to them, resulting in unsatisfied residents and under equipped agencies.
Many argue that democracy must be like this. However, I also ask if the people are ready for this system? How do we make ourselves ready? We must first improve our readiness and competency in order to be a complete and functional democracy. Other countries have succeeded in this, so we must first ready ourselves before there can be decentralization this way.
In the future, each province will have its own budget, governance, and police force. How can provinces be ready for this level of autonomy if even centralized agencies are still inefficient? If we decentralize power while still unequipped, provinces may fail in their autonomous governing. I am fully supportive of the efforts by the Ministry of Interior in finding ways to ensure responsible self-governance. Provincial governors themselves must work harder in the future. At this time the government is lending its full support for the present agendas. We must first focus on long-term solutions and prevent quick fixes. We must also make sure that our actions don’t cause unintended consequences that can further complicate our strategic goals.
This government has, therefore, defined appropriate missions for governing bodies at all levels under the principles of a harmonious balance between state and local administrations. We are working hard today to achieve the agenda of a system of decentralization that coincides with nationwide agendas, which also contribute towards effective and transparent local governance that includes public participation.
8. Work that is not fully integrated is caused by many factors such as lack of organizational awareness, budgetary inefficiencies, or interference from external parties whether they are politicians for other influential people who lack good governance and ethical standards.
I would like government agencies as well as private organizations to reach a consensus on various policies. What cannot be done in an integrated manner or according to the Pracharat model may lead to inefficiencies and drawbacks. We must fix these issues before they manifest into more obstacles.
We will not be able to solve our long standing problems if we continue to use the same methods. Laws will not be effective if we continue to see ourselves as being above it. This government has thus sought to integrate the efforts between our agencies. The government has established the Committee on Reform, National Strategy and Reconciliation as well as other committees and the through the PMDU. I also have article 44 to expedite matters of importance.
Keep in mind that solutions must address both the vertical and horizontal aspects of the organization. We must also adhere to our memorandums and treaties. It is the duty of ministries to adhere to their commitments and utilize their budgets efficiently. Solutions must also take into consideration the context of local regions before we can connect our efforts at a broader level.
From area-based solutions, our efforts in various sectors can be linked to a broader national agenda, such as our logistics, transportation, and tourism agendas. This interconnected approach will do well to raise the quality of living of the citizens of the country.
All countries rely on an effective government apparatus to mobilize the country’s agendas. For us, it is the Pracharat model which serves as a force of bringing about change and progress. Without this force, we will not be able to compete in the 21st century and our government may falter its duty of being a source of reliance for its people.
Another example is the effort by the Ministry of Labor to utilize the Pracharat model in enhancing the quality of lives of employees and reduce trade barriers the fishing and poultry industry. We have implemented solutions at the value chain level in order to help the supply and production chain by incorporating the King’s Philosophy and coordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives through the Pracharat model.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) and various fishing and livestock product federations have established a framework of “Good Labour Practice (GLP)” which would encourage ethical operations that are incompliance with the country’s labor laws, such as not using child labor or human trafficking. This is one of the government’s national agendas.
This would help enhance the quality of lives of laborers and raise the standards of our labor sector while enhancing the country’s competitiveness, preventing it from losing over 130 billion baht per year.
These agendas reflect the intentions of the government and the NCPO to enact policies that benefit all the people without giving any preference to province or region. We address issues throughout the entire country.
We will not be able to achieve sustainability if we fail in our goals. People will be more self-conscious of their actions if they see themselves as stake holders in this country. People share the responsibility of coming together and addressing our common problems. For example, we will not be able to solve our flood and drought situation if we do not integrate our water management efforts.
In other sectors, our failure to come together could result in low agricultural output, no large-scale farming, no organic farming, and no innovation. This, coupled with widespread corruption and opportunism, will not bring about progress.
We must reinvent the way we think and reduce conflict by listening to each other. We must consider the benefits of the country and learn to make sacrifices. We can no longer cut corners in our work and only think about what we can gain at the expense of others. This administration is using this principle as its vision for widespread reform. If we fail to make changes, there will be no progress in our country.
Dear Thai citizens, I would like to talk about an important factor in progressing towards our Thailand 4.0 agenda through my meeting with academics and students at Kasetsart University. The first matter is the exhibition on agriculture and innovation which showcases over 50 studies that have already been implemented. Many of these studies will directly contribute towards adding value and revenue for farmers.
This includes studies on new breeds of crops that are of higher quality and fetch higher prices. These crops provide high-yield and are water efficient such as high-grade vegetables, herbs that have been certified to be potent and chemical free, and livestock breeds that are the product of cross breeding to yield high quality meat.
2. Developing smart farmers for a 4.0 era. This includes managing high quality beef production, large scale farming, applications for community farmers, rice crop management, customized fertilizer, and targeted fish farming. These are the many advancements that have been well received by those who have implemented these innovations. Farmers that utilize 4.0 agricultural practices will be rewarded with higher revenue through the value added.
3. Improving the telecommunication system for agricultural management, such as establishing a national database for agriculture in the form of a inclusive digitized network.
4. Research on technologies that leads to self sufficiency and can be exported for revenue. Examples include allergy testing kits, vaccines for fish and swine, methods to accurately and quickly assess the amount of water in palm products, and tools for delicate farms and large-scale forms.
5. Research to add value to the agricultural sector through health food processing. Examples include controlling sugar and free radicals, food for the obese and elderly, processed rice products, and developments in healthy beverages. These are examples of research findings that have successfully been brought to market. Scaling these efforts would add value to agricultural outputs and increase revenue for our farmers.
In addition to research, we have supported further research and development in the future. Kasetsart University has collaborated with the Biodiversity-Based Economy Development Office (BEDP) in creating a database for various plants.
This includes the collaboration between the National Science and Technology Development Agency and the Biotechnology Research and Development Office in utilizing the country’s biodiversity in producing new products, such as mushrooms, fungi, and herbs that can be developed into high quality products.
Dear Thai citizens, I was impressed by the quality of the studies and innovations at Kasetsart University, many of which are awaiting further utilization. If we are able to further support these studies, they will serve as a key driving force for our country.
The University has advised the government to give it support for research and help towards bringing research findings to businesses as well as SMEs. This event served as an important venue for promoting cooperation between university institutions, government agencies, the private sector, and farmers.
This coincides with the government’s policy of supporting research and innovation to mobilize the country towards its 4.0 agenda. The government is expediting its efforts to give certifications to innovations in order for them to be swiftly utilized. A slow certification process has been a long-standing issue that needs to be addressed.
For example, once a product is registered and certified, it will be able to enter the mass-market. This is a mechanism of creating an effective innovation database. I have called for full support and swift certification of high potential research findings by government institutions, universities, and the private sector.
We will ensure that these innovations lead to commercial use and are quickly certified. We must also consider what benefits to provide researchers or organizations in order to incentivize them into creating further studies and innovations that would lead to progress for our country.
I hope that everyone understands the many issues that I have talked about today because they are complex and require public understanding. By listening to me, you will gain insight into what the government is thinking and has done.
I ask that everyone carry the same aspirations as I have to create a country that is stable, prosperous, and sustainable. Thank you very much. I wish everyone happiness during the weekend. I also ask that everyone exercise caution during their commutes. Please don’t cause damage to the lives of others which will bring about sorrow to their families as well as to myself.
Thank you. Sawasdee Krub.