From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals July 14, 2017
Good evening dear Thai citizens.
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has expressed deep concern for the well-being of the Thai people during this rainy season, as the Meteorological Department has forecast heavy precipitation throughout the country next week.
For Bangkok, His Majesty the King has consented for the Royal Guards, His officials, local authorities, as well as volunteers to remove trash, waste, and unwanted aquatic plants such as water hyacinth from waterways and canals, in order
to alleviate the hardships of Bangkokians combating floods and inundation. The removal of trash and weeds also helps to open up waterways and unclog drains in various districts of the capital city. Such operations have been going on for about 2 months already.
To carry out His Majesty’s aspirations, the government and the NCPO have allocated areas for constructing water retention facilities and water drainage systems, and developed water sources throughout the country. The government has launched the Pracharat Volunteer Water Source Development Project, with the help from the private sector and the public, in order
to rehabilitate waterways and canals as well as eliminate unwanted weeds so as to improve water flow, prevent future flooding, and preserve the environment. Activities are divided into 4 phases.
In the first phase, 50 districts of Bangkok will organize “Big Cleaning Day” events on July 25-27, in cooperation with the military and participating volunteers. As for the remaining 76 provinces, each district will host similar events between July 29 and 31. The main host of these activities will be the Ministry of Interior and other responsible agencies, helping to remove waste from the main waterways and canals.
In the second phase, small water retention areas will be constructed to store water for agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will work with the private sector and the public on this operation.
In the third phase, waterways and water sources in public areas will be improved and rehabilitated. The target is 1 water source per district. Such operations will commence in August and end in September 2017. The Ministry of Interior is the responsible agency for this.
In the 4th phase, water sources will be developed according to the requests of each community. They will be for the benefit for the entire community. These operations will commence in September.
I would like to invite all sectors of society to participate in these activities according to the given date and time. Please lend a helping hand for yourselves and your communities.
Please stop littering because other people will have to clean up after you.
These activities will continue on a monthly basis, starting this month. This is also to carry out the aspirations of His Majesty King Rama X.
This rainy season is also the 2017-2018 crop-growing season and the government has a plan to support farmers by enhancing rice farming activities and rice marketing in a comprehensive manner, which is a foundation for agricultural reform and includes practices such as large-scale farming, agricultural learning centers, the new agricultural theory, and the 9101 Royal Project.
The purpose is to raise farmers’ incomes, develop farming plans, reduce potential risks from droughts, floods, and price fluctuations, as well as encourage farmers to grow alternative crops to supplement their incomes, not to mention focusing more on quality crops, organic crops and efficient growing. The development of rice production and marketing comprises two important elements.
The first one is the enhancement of efficiency in rice production. The government has already approved a budget since April to spearhead several projects such as the promotion of Hom Mali rice seeds, the large-scale farming approach, and the organic rice project.
These undertakings are expected to cut production costs, increase productivity, and improve the management of agriculture in various communities, allowing farmers to better support themselves.
The second element is the reduction of permanent rice plantations. This does not mean you will stop growing rice permanently. It means that the amount of rice grown should be more proportionate. Rice without quality does not sell. We need to lower the supply. Farmers can raise their incomes when they change their practices this way.
The Cabinet has recently endorsed a budget for the country to effectively plan out comprehensive rice growing. Under the approved budget, 3 projects will be launched, covering the targeted areas of 1.23 million rai. A total of 4.9 billion baht will be spent.
The first project encourages farmers to replace rice with crops to be used as fodder. The aim is for farmers to sell their crops to increase their incomes and also to feed their cattle. The project will be launched in 630,000 rai of farmland in 77 provinces, with the budget totaling 3.8 billion baht.
Farmers who grow plants for animal feed will receive 6,000 baht per rai, not exceeding 15 rai per family. This will come in the form of yearly installments wherein farmers receive 2,000 baht per year for 3 years. The project also educates farmers about fodder farming and trade.
The second project encourages farmers to grow alternative crops outside of rainy season. The Agriculture Extension Department will educate farmers on how to grow other crops that result in higher yields. There are 53 targeted provinces or 400,000 rai, with a total budget of 865 million baht to be used. Each family will receive 2,000 baht per rai, not exceeding 15 rai. Farmers will be taught about alternative crop farming.
The third project will teach farmers about how to grow plants used as fertilizers. The Land Development Department will offer farmers advice on how to replace rice with plants that help improve the quality of soil. There are 22 targeted provinces or 200,000 rai, with an allocated budget of 230 million baht. The project offers 1,000 baht per rai for fertilizing, ploughing, and seedling. Each family will receive assistance, not exceeding 15 rai. The project provides know-how on fertilizer plants to participating farmers.
I am hopeful that these solutions and assistance measures will help fellow farmers in a sustainable manner, in addition to changing farming behaviors in accordance with our current weather and geographical conditions. The ultimate goal is to build stability and growth for our farmers and their children.
For the country’s ‘economic/commercial plants’, which can be divided into six categories, we have to review the main problems associated with them such as
1) does the supply exceed market demand? Are crops being grown in unauthorized areas?
2) how floods, droughts, and unhealthy soil have caused damage to crops while some crops are grown on unfertile land, and
3) although farmers want prices to be high, which the government understands, however, we have to take other things into account such as international agreements, joint markets, the global market, and free trade, all of which are uncontrollable.
What we can do is add creativity, quality, and uniqueness to our products. This is why we have to resort to organic farming, innovation, research and development, home production and consumption, exports, and added value, as opposed to growing in quantity or selling them as raw materials.
If we misunderstand these concepts or receive wrong information about them, it may affect our confidence, thus making it appear that the government and the NCPO are not doing enough to help the farmers. It is not true that we do not look after the well-being of the farmers, who are already facing many challenges.
I ask that we find common ground and work together from the upstream (farmers and production), through the midstream (processing, innovation, and adding value), to the downstream (marketing, business matching inside and outside Thailand).
For instance, the problem of people invading 1.6 million rai of forest land is not just an environmental concern, but it also has an effect on the economy, meaning there is an oversupply of crops in the market driving down prices of crops, resulting in subsequent social and security concerns.
According to the latest survey, 900,000 rai were invaded for corn planting this year, and so far 40,000 rai out of the 80,000 rai goal to be reclaimed has been retrieved. It was not easy, but the result is satisfactory. If we retrieving invaded land at this rate, it will take us 10 years to be able to reclaim all the land. This matter cannot be done in a short period of time.
Without the ability to control the number of plantations or encroachment activities, the problem of price slumps will continue year after year. The government and the NCPO have been trying to enforce the law and utilize political processes to address the problem of encroachment. We must look after this group and encourage people to make a living outside from unauthorized areas by creating jobs and employment.
Many people have not wanted to change their ways. So we have also been encouraging the farmers to change their practices and adopt new technologies. I do not want this issue to be used for political gain at the expense of people facing such adversities.
For example, the balance between demand and supply can be achieved by proportioning plantations. Crops that are popular among consumers should be grown in quality soil with a sufficient amount of water, to maintain the quality of the grains. These quality grains can be sold at a good price.
As for areas where water supply is low, crops grown in these areas should be for the purpose of household consumption rather than for mass sale. Farmers who cannot grow quality rice should switch to other crops such as fruit, cattle raising, or plants used in the energy sector, as suggested by the government. You will be able to sell your products at a reasonable price.
At present, the government has developed the “Agri Map” technology. However, for those who do not practice good governance, think about results or efficacy, consider the benefits of the whole, maintain only personal interests, encroach preserved forests, or deliberately use excess water – we can no longer allow these practices to carry on because the effects are widespread, not only in the agricultural sector. Please understand these problems. The government cannot satisfy all your requests. We need everyone to cooperate now because the impacts are widespread. Thailand is very fortunate to have had HM King Rama IX who bestowed us with the King’s Philosophy, and HM King Rama X who has asked us to adopt those teachings for the maximum benefit of the public and the nation.
My fellow citizens, it is important that we follow the King’s Philosophy, for the country to transition to becoming a high-income nation. We have to create balance in the utilization of natural resources, and balance in the economy, society, agriculture, industry,
and environmental preservation. All our activities have to support one another. We have to build stability and growth from within, increase our ability to compete, and add to our development path from best practices elsewhere. This is to create a value chain based on reason, moderation and resilience so that all things can be sustainable.
There are several factors that will cater to the development of our nation including
1) stability and national security,
2) peacefulness in society and safety in lives and property for our citizens,
3) the connectivity of the value chain in the economy, linking the grassroots level with the medium and high income people. There is no room for monopoly in free trade or the market mechanism. What we need to do is connect the dots and fairly distribute wealth and income among the people. The help from private sector is needed to achieve this.
4) the development of basic infrastructure and public utilities will create added value and attract future investments from overseas.
5) the development of the country’s human resources through education such as the “new generation” project for 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 citizens to help each other develop together and career wise. We need to produce workers that the labor market actually needs in accordance with the National Strategies and our national reforms.
Therefore, the mobilization of the country towards “Thailand 4.0” by the King’s Philosophy is something the Thai people should have a true understanding of. We have to know our Development Strategy of “understanding, reaching out, and developing”. Understanding means people have to understand the existing problems as well as the needs of each other.
Reaching out means people must comprehend the details and the causes of those problems, so that they can formulate effective solutions. Developing means there is a plan that is practical while people are willing to commit to the plan. This plan prescribes how problems will be addressed and how development will take place according to our goals and planned activities.
However, we must not forget 2 principles which are 1) we have to educate and create an understanding of joint activities, principles, and active cooperation among all stakeholders in the society, and 2) we have to allocate budgets according to the operational plan, taking into consideration the needs of grassroots people, communities, provinces, provincial groups, and regions. We must be able to synchronize our efforts and build a value chain for all targeted careers and every industry.
The first thing we need to do is organize our work in to categories and clusters such as agriculture, industries, trade, and others. Then we can examine approaches each sector can benefit from and the development plans and projects to be funded by the government. Without the understanding of these two principles, there will be no efficiency, wealth distribution, nor equality.
Any form of development program must take into consideration the potential of the local people. Important matters to consider at the provincial cluster – provincial – local – community level are,
1. The disparity levels among the regions – the first on the priority list require development of various public utilities such as roads, water supply, electricity, telecommunications, and internet connectivity, among others.
These areas must receive assistance so that people are able to conduct their occupations in order to generate income, travel to and from markets and other communities, and conduct various social and economic activities that promote self-sufficiency.
2. With areas that have potential, we can provide support through encouraging expertise and innovation to promote creative ways of adding value to their local products, such as OTOP products and local expertise. Government agencies must elicit cooperation and provide convenience in services using the Pracharat model in each community to support development throughout the entire value chain in order to adequately distribute wealth.
3. Areas with adequate potential and infrastructure will receive support in accommodating future expansion. The government must have clear plans for projects that will develop the potential of these areas and enhance connectivity with surrounding areas so that they also develop alongside these areas.
Examples include expanding roads, railways, tunnels, bridges, and airports. If we are able to distinguish areas into clusters of distinct economic activities, we will be able to foster networks that will then complement each other throughout all stages of the value chain.
It is comparable to forest planting which requires diverse strains of plants, from perennial plants, vines, ivy, to cover crops. All play a part in the symbiotic relationship between each other in nature. However, past budget allocation plans have not fully supported the potential of each area and have not been sustainable.
This is because we have relied only on the “functional needs” of each agency, which often did not coincide with the potential of each area and thus failed to create connectivity. We now need to connect these types of areas together.
The government has therefore created “integrated budgets” and various “dimensions of activities” to create connectivity, add value, encourage innovation, and coincide with the contexts of each area, from the regional, provincial clusters, provincial, community, to the grassroots level.
An example is how the Ministry of Commerce requires budgets for its “functional tasks” and “integrated tasks” with other ministries, such as assisting farmers, marketing, and supporting SMEs, cooperatives, community enterprises, and agricultural institutions. This is because as agriculture resides upstream, commerce therefore would be midstream and marketing would be at the end.
We, therefore, have the Pracharat model, which will help mobilize the economies of communities according to the government’s policies of creating jobs, income, resilience, and sustainability, rather than merely responding to demands.
We must provide support to systems of trade that are conducive to the growth of local businesses, provide training in management, and encourage innovation.
This requires supporting commerce mechanisms at the provincial level and connecting programs to coincide with the economic strategies of each province and country. If ministries only focus on their own work, integration will not occur and results will often not be productive.
At this time, the Ministry of Commerce has implemented various policies. For instance,
it has set up local offices in all six regions to serve as a mechanism to mobilizing its policies to elevate the grassroots economy, SMEs, and startups at all levels and expand marketing and sales channels, develop regional Pracharat markets, accommodate trade with neighboring countries through business matching activities,
and connect and expand markets for farmers and social enterprises to distribute their products and processed goods through Farm Outlets and Magnet Markets.
My fellow Thai citizens, for those who have continuously followed the “From the King’s Philosophy to Sustainable Development” show, as well as “Returning Happiness to the Thai People,” “Thailand Moves Forward,” and other programs by the government and the NCPO,
I would like to you to consider if, in the past, any other government has ever talked about so many of its activities, whether it be about solving problems, introducing changes, and reforms for the present and the future. This government is addressing these issues because it wishes to elicit understanding and cooperation and avoid distortions of information or defamation by any parties. However, there are still those who have spread distorted information that has resulted in misunderstandings. I would like everyone to consider what has happened.
If you follow these programs, you will know of the intentions of the government and the NCPO, which wish to provide information, create understanding, and seek cooperation from all sectors according to the Pracharat model. Let us no longer be divided, especially as we strive towards an era of stability, prosperity, and sustainability. I am confident that Thai people nowadays are familiar with many of the government’s catchphrases, and changes that have taken place
such as the National Strategy, reform, Pracharat, grassroots economy, integrating work – people – money, Thailand 4.0 as well as 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, Smart Farmer, community markets, online markets, processing goods, adding value, value chain, developing special economic zones and EEC,
energy stability, superpower of food – services – tourism in the ASEAN region, Thailand + ASEAN + 1, stronger together, not leaving anyone behind,
and most importantly, the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy which is an approach towards sustainable development which Thailand presented to the UN as a way of achieving its sustainable development goals.
Given this, I will now address the communication channels of government agencies that this administration has continuously strived to develop in order to better reach people of all groups so that everyone in this country may receive up-to-date and reliable information from the government, without having to rely on other channels which may not have the most conclusive information.
From polls surveying all groups on the topic of improving the government’s public relations channels,
1. Suan Dusit Poll revealed a survey on the public’s awareness of the government’s work before its three-year policy performance report, revealed that 54% were partially aware, while 20% were well aware because they had been following news by the government and the Prime Minister’s program, while 8% said they weren’t aware and don’t care.
2. Studies conducted by TNS revealed that that more than 71% of Thai people who visit Youtube visit the site more than once each day, where 90% visit the site everyday and 61% spend more time watching Youtube than television. Thai people spend an average of 8.3 hours online, with up to 4 hours of that spent on their phones and 2.3 hours watching video content.
3. Media formats and advertisements that are the most popular at this time are in the form of storytelling rather than selling, have music or narration in the background, and are presented by celebrities or thought leaders.
What I have mentioned are examples of how the government’s public relations efforts must adapt to in order to adequately reach out to the public. In addition to well-known forms of communications, the government has created additional public relations mechanisms such as,
1. ID-IA-IR Chat networks which connect all mediums of the Public Relations Department which are radio, television, online channels, government and ministerial spokespersons in providing fast and accurate responses to questions posed by the public. The Electronic Government Agency (EGA) and the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC) are tasked with supporting its operations.
The government has also unveiled a new Facebook page titled “PAGE IR” to provide answers on current issues of interest and to receive feedback from the public. I hope that these two new communication channels will serve as sources for social media and mainstream media channels to cite information to reduce misunderstandings and social conflicts in the future.
2. Radio networks, broadcast towers and community channels – I ask for your cooperation. The Public Relations Department, NBTC, and Ministry of Interior will with together on this and in addition to disseminating information provided by IR Chat to the regions, this network will serve as a mechanism to create awareness about the various policies by the government. These channels will be narrated by locals in their respective dialects for better understanding.
As for an internal communication within government agencies, I have stressed the importance of creating understanding among all civil servants within all ministries in order to result in policy implementation free of obstacles, and so that officials will be able to provide accurate and clear information to the public.
I have instructed the ministers, permanent-secretaries, and secretaries-general to create awareness among policy implementers and the public. They must go beyond their work desks to reach out, create awareness, and boost the morale of their subordinates.
An important matter during this time is our goal to create a process of reconciliation. What I would like the public to know of and help participate in are the public hearings held by the Committee on Preparing for Reform and Reconciliation, which will be held across the country from July 17-20. The details can be found at the bottom of the screen.
This reconciliation process will gather suggestions from all sides, including from various political parties, in order to compile a “social contract.” Those who wish to stay up to date with the latest developments can follow the Facebook page “ProngDongTH.” These public hearings will create awareness and receive suggestions from the public.
Before the information gathered is compiled into a comprehensive social contract, I have instructed that the social contract must include implementation methods; otherwise, it would only exist as a theory. There must also be ways to work together, such as reforms according to the laws, without conflict or the use weapons, etc. Once signed, it must be able to prevent crises, such as what happened in 2014, from occurring.
We will then hold an official press conference on the matter. This would serve as a way of stimulating our sense of Thai citizenship, devotion to the country, and a contract held by faith on how we can peacefully coexist and create a strong and peaceful society. It is the people who must decide on this, not politicians.
Finally, education is a matter of utmost importance that affects the country’s human resource development, especially during our transition and reform period. His Majesty King Rama IX had bestowed us with so many initiatives that the government has continued with, while His Majesty King Rama X has graciously bestowed us with educational guidelines that advocate the development of 4 foundations for students, including
1. The right attitude towards one’s country
2. A strong and ethical character as a foundation of life.
3. Occupational skills
4. Good citizenship, as defined by Privy Councilor Kasem Watanachai in a lecture to the managers of Mahidol University on June 17, 2017.
I would like all agencies and education committees to incorporate these principles in their work.
I also would like to encourage the Thai youth to read as a leisure activity. Parents should not wait for their children to be able to read before encouraging them. A love for reading should be instilled in a child as early as possible. Some families read to their children while in their infancy. These children will grow into people who love reading and knowledge, and have long attention spans and imagination.
I understand that many parents are busy, but it is important to find time to read for them, even if it’s 5 to 10 minutes a day, so that they grow to love reading instead of games and mobile phones.
These children will grow into knowledgeable persons that are assets for the country. All countries compete in developing the quality of their human personnel, which is also a key indicator of the country’s development progress. I will like to encourage parents and family members to consider this.
I would also like to congratulate Atthaya Thitikul for being the youngest player to win the Ladies European Thailand Championship in Pattaya at the age of 14.
This is testament to how talent is a product of interest, thirst for knowledge, dedication, self-development, and continuous self-discipline. Professionals like Ariya Jutanugarn have inspired Ms Atthaya for her success. I believe that Ms Atthaya will also become an inspiration to other Thai golfers and athletes for generations to come.
I would like to also commend the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and thank the many sports associations. Today, many of our athletes have garnered prestigious awards in water polo, Taekwondo, and badminton, among many sports. I would like to extend my best wishes to all other athletes whose names I failed to mention at this time, so I have asked the Government Spokesperson to commend them in the daily news.
Thank you. I wish everyone happiness during the weekend. During Buddhist Lent I remind you to refrain from consuming alcohol and smoking. Try this for the 3 months, you may find that things will improve overall. Thank you Sawasdee Krub.