From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals August 18, 2017
Good evening dear Thai citizens.
This past week, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has consented for the production of a series of documentaries presenting the teachings and principles of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the 9th Reign.
The documentaries hope to create an understanding about the Royal teachings for members of the public and state agencies, in order to carry out with Their aspirations for us to make the best use of them.
The series consists of 4 episodes including Water is Life for our Land, Protect and Develop Water Sources, Plants and Vegetation for Prosperity, and the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy for life. These documentaries were shown to the Cabinet members and have also been given to the Public Relations Department for telecast.
The public is encouraged to watch them on various channels. The teachings of Their Majesties have brought about a foundation of well-being and better living standards for Thai citizens, and much social and economic development for the nation. We should all adhere to these teachings and carry them on for our future generations.
August 18th of 2018 will mark the 150th anniversary of the prediction of the solar eclipse by His Majesty King Mongkut or King Rama IV. His Majesty was able to predict such a phenomenon two years before it happened, which was at Khlong Wan subdistrict of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
King Rama IV invited experts from France, England, and Singapore to observe the eclipse as well. Because of this precise prediction of the solar eclipse and to honor King Rama IV, the International Astronomical Union decided to name the total solar eclipse which occurred on August 18, 1868, as the “King of Siam’s Eclipse.”
To commemorate and honor King Rama IV’s ability to predict such a phenomenon, Thailand has turned the King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science and Technology at Waghor in Prachuap Khiri Khan province into a significant tourist destination and a learning center for history, science, and technology.
The park also serves as a center for human resources development in the contemporary global context. In addition, a committee in charge of restoring museums and learning centers has organized an activity for enthusiasts to visit museums and learning centers on route from Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan.
There are 30 museums and learning centers in Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkram, Petchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan taking part in this activity, which will provide people with access to useful knowledge that can be used to improve skills and professions.
I would like to invite the public to visit these museums and learning centers as well as the King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science and Technology at Waghor, in honor of King Rama IV, or “The Royal Father of Science of Thailand,” who is known for several scientific discoveries in different categories.
With this strong foundation, the country’s scientific and innovative developments have made significant progress, and this will be a driving force to turn Thailand into a digital society. Members of the general public should, therefore, adjust to the inevitable changes of our society and adopt technologies for their everyday activities for the sake of convenience. Given this, I want to inform you of several science-related activities that are going on now.
The first one is the National Science and Technology Fair Thailand 2017 to honor HM King Mongkut as the Royal Father of Thai Science, and to honor HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King Rama IX, as the ‘Royal Father of Technology and Innovation’.
It is the biggest science and technology event in Thailand, featuring an exhibition and a series of science and technology related activities hosted by the government and 30 private companies from Thailand and overseas.
The event highlights the country’s potentials in science and technology, and hopes to inspire and create awareness among Thai people. The event is open to all people, with free access to new experiences and knowledge. Visitors will get to take part in various fun and inspiring scientific activities that will promote the development of the Thai economy, our society, and the environment.
Visitors will also learn about the new S-Curve industries or the 10-targeted industries, in addition to our global challenges such as global warming, biodiversity, health sciences, and more. It will help create progressive attitudes towards science and technology, encouraging people to be enthusiastic learners.
The event will be held until August 27th at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani. Parents are advised to take their children there to learn about science and modern innovations, which will be useful for them when they grow up. Children with knowledge of modern technologies will be able to drive the nation forward.
Another interesting event is “Thailand Research Expo 2017.” Held for the 12th time, this expo is hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology under the concept “Thai Research Towards Stability, Prosperity, and Sustainability.” The event will commemorate His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and will honor His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun and all members of the Royal Family who have contributed to the development of Thai research. The event presents many successful innovations, such as a machine that can detect illegal entries along the borders, banana-fibre clothing and design, antibacterial nano-technology, and technology to treat breast cancer by using ultrasound to remove cancer cells without damaging or affecting surrounding tissues.
The Thailand Research Expo 2017 will be held from August 23-27, 2017, at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Center at Central World. I would like to invite everyone to visit these two events to show our support for our researchers and scientists who continue to come up with useful innovations and discoveries.
My fellow citizens, like I’ve said before, the Thai people are very blessed to have the King and members of the Royal Family attach great significance to modern science, which can be showcased through the fruits of our research and innovation.
There is another event that will showcase successful research and innovations in agriculture, which is very important to the majority of Thai people. The event is called Thai Farmer Expo 2017. The expo brings together useful innovations and technologies that are compatible with modern farming circumstances and is important for supporting our drive to the
Thailand 4.0 era. The event will show the country’s ability to produce smart farmers, young smart farmers, and smart farming groups as well as community enterprises. More than 4,000 people are taking part in the event.
We have invited diplomats from 30 nations to visit, which will further promote the potential and capabilities of our farmers, as Thailand is one of the world’s most important food suppliers.
Furthermore, the event exhibits a wide array of quality goods at affordable prices. There is also an exhibition about HM King Rama IX’s principles on farming, as well as an agricultural clinic. Visitors can seek advice from experts about agricultural processing and how to take care of cattle in urban environments.
20 training courses are provided for farmers and enthusiasts, along with demonstrations on farm production, processing, and a business matching platform where business negotiations can be conducted between producers and entrepreneurs.
I travelled to launch the event at the opening ceremony on August 16th. The last day of the expo is August 20th. Held at Lumpini Park, the expo features many interesting farm products displaying the advances of Thai agriculture. I like to express my thanks to the private sector for participating in this event, especially those from the Pracharat projects.
My fellow citizens, agriculture is a very important sector to the nation and our people. Rice, in particular, is the main food source for every citizen and is a main export product that has generated income for Thai people for a long time. Rice farmers have to endure several kinds of natural disasters such as drought and floods,
not to mention price fluctuations in the global market and fierce competition from other rice exporters. Many other countries produce and export rice grains. One of the solutions that will help create stability and uplift farmers’ living standards is to add value to rice products through various methods.
I want to give you can example of how to add value to rice. I have recently met with smart farmers who produce rice bran oil. Rice paddies cost around 8,000 baht per ton. When you turn them into rice grains, what you get on the side is bran, which costs 10,000 baht per ton. When oil is extracted from bran, it can be sold at the price of 60,000 baht a ton.
If rice bran oil can be turned into food supplements, its price can go up to 20 million baht per ton. At present, the rice bran oil producers use around 800,000 tons of bran per year, of which 140,000 tons of oil can be extracted. It generates 2 billion baht on a yearly basis.
Apart from using it as a food ingredient, rice bran oil can be used as nutritional supplements. With that said, Thailand has had only some success in creating added value to this product. This has prompted the government to conduct research and studies on increasing its quality and value, as well as sustained efforts to raise awareness about the product. If everyone purchases it, it can become cheaper and more affordable. But if only a handful of people use it, it will remain expensive because less is produced. So I ask that we help to consume this product more. It is safe and most importantly, good for our health.
On August 24-25, Naresuan University and producers of rice bran oil will co-host an academic seminar on the development of bran oil, the forth of its kind. The seminar will take place at Pathumwan Princess Hotel and 200 academics and businessmen from around the world will attend.
In order to support Thailand to become a sustainable leader in rice bran oil in a way that distributes more benefits to farmers,
I would like to invite everyone to consume more rice bran oil products. Not only is consuming bran oil a healthy choice, you would also be supporting our rice farmers.
The other day, I saw a rice product made into chewable pills. I was impressed by the taste in addition to its nutritional value and would like to invite everyone to try out such new rice products.
Another method I would like to talk about is boiling rice into milk in order to make it consumable by very young children as well the elderly. However, infants should continue to be breastfed, otherwise, we will need to import more powdered milk.
I would like to invite everyone to consider how they can explore healthier choices and for young children and the elderly.
As for the overall picture of our national development agenda, there is much that remains to be done, especially on improving our current environment, so that we can be internationally acknowledged as destination that is ready for enhanced global trade, investments, and foreign tourists.
An example of a policy that the government is implementing is the “4.0 FDA” initiative of enhancing the efficiency of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) certification process.
Not only does the initiative help to enhance the potential of the country’s public health services, it also lays the groundwork for the country’s agenda to be a Medical Hub.
The government has tasked the Food and Drug Administration with eliminating lingering obstacles that have hindered progress by: hiring additional experts and product examiners to help with academic document processing; reducing the number of steps by using technology; employing third-party agencies to inspect businesses, as well as finding other sources of funding in addition to the state budget to support its activities.
This is to enhance the speed and efficiency of the certification process for healthcare products at the central and regional levels, as well as to strengthen the consumer protection mechanism. These new improvements will benefit businesses in ways such as,
1) Reducing time spent on consultation, document preparation, examinations, and follow-ups by 20 percent,
For example, the process of approving food supplement products has been reduced from 35 to 28 business days; the process for biopharmaceutical products has been reduced from 280 days to 220 business days, while the process for registering new hazardous materials has been reduced from 122 to 100 business days.
2) Supporting fast and accurate submissions of business plans by developing an e-submission system, which connects to various agencies. This would enable fast and convenient development of businesses and innovations. This year, the government has launched 29 e-submission systems and aims to have 70 operational by the year 2019.
3) Providing convenient transactions through e-payment systems according to the government’s Digital Economy policy, which will commence this August.
4) Boosting confidence and raising the standards of services to meet the demands of a “4.0 businesses era” that requires accuracy, speed, and transparency, by establishing a foundation for innovation and a counseling center for health care products, in accordance to the government’s policy of ensuring safety for consumers, supporting the growth of businesses, and creating a sustainable healthcare system.
I would also like the Thai Industrial Standards Institute to look into this matter as well.
The second example is the “cableless city” initiative of bringing overhead cables underground, starting from Bangkok’s Ladphrao Intersection to Victory Monument, which will commence from August to September this year.
The project requires collaboration between agencies such as the Ministry of Interior, Metropolitan Electricity Authority, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, Royal Thai Police, and the Telecommunications Association of Thailand under the Royal Patronage.
The project aims to accommodate the country’s rapid expansion of telecommunications systems. If we continue to do things as we always have, Thailand will see more entangled and disorganized cables that can be a threat to safety, affect the security of the country’s electric energy, and become an eyesore to our cityscapes.
I would like the public to follow up on the progress in the next two months. The project will uproot 800 poles, to which the Metropolitan Electricity Authority will hand them over to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, which will then utilize them to restore and prevent erosion along the 4.7 kilometer coastal stretch in Bang Khun Thian District.
My fellow Thai citizens, notable goals in the country’s 20-year National Strategy include raising per capita income to 450,000 baht, achieving 5 percent economic growth per year, and ranking no less than 10th in the Global Competitiveness Index by 2036, in addition to increasing the country’s forestland to 40 percent – a key indicator of sustainable development and environmental friendliness.
In the past three years, this administration has resolved the country’s long-standing issues and has laid the foundations for future development by adhering to the King’s Philosophy that states that “providing the people support in their occupations and ensuring that they are able to sustain themselves and their livelihoods is the most important foundation.
This is because people with occupations and an adequate income are able to create higher levels of progress and development.” We must also ensure their resilience by promoting rationality and modesty under the principles of economic knowledge and ethics.
Therefore, I have focused on the well-being of the people as a primary indicator of the overall health of the economy from 2014 to the first quarter of this year.
For example, agricultural productivity increased from -5.3% to 20.1%, investment increased from -2.2% to 1.7%, while exports had risen to 2.7%, making GDP in the first quarter of this year grow by 3.3%. The National Economic and Social Development Board will provide a more comprehensive report in the near future.
Nevertheless, this paints an overall picture of the country. It has come time that the Cabinet and I visit various regions, provinces, and communities in order to directly examine the contextual problems and connect them together in order to reduce disparities. Because, once the foundation of a house is strong, its other components – the beams and walls – will strongly fit together. The same goes with our democracy: we must strengthen the country’s foundations in order to become a strong democracy.
Three major activities for Cabinet meetings in various regions include:
1) Visits by ministers from all ministries to hear about new problems that are specific to each area, and follow up on the progress of existing policies.
2. Meeting with the locals at public forums in order to create awareness of the strategic and development plans of each city and economic region, in order to align the people’s understandings and awareness about the country’s future goals so that we can all cooperate in achieving sustainable development.
3) The Cabinet will take what they have learned from visiting various regions to create projects and allocate budgets accordingly, which will accelerate national administration that derives form viewing the country, from not only Bangkok.
The government and I have continued to listen to the public. But this time, we will go see for ourselves and meet with the people. We will share with the public the progress of what we have done in the past three years as well as our plans for 2017-19.
This is because we have spent the last 3 years laying the foundations so that for the next two years, we will be able to implement policies that reduce disparities and boost incomes. Many people have yet to register with the government’s database of low-income citizens. These people make less than 100,000 baht per year, which is definitely an insufficient amount. We must help them increase their incomes to at least 300,000 baht per year.
In order to do so, we must register them in our database and our programs. Most importantly, people should adhere to the guidelines in the government’s programs; otherwise, we will not be able to create as many jobs and professions.
This policy will be implemented in accordance with the approach of His Majesty King Rama IX of “Understanding, Reaching Out, and Develop”, which implies – understanding the problems, the contexts, the people, as well as the solutions.
Our efforts to develop regions and cities must focus on strengthening the production sector and services for people by better distributing wealth and economic opportunities, along with clearly developing the living conditions and economic zones for each city.
We must study the conditions of each region, conduct a situational analysis for social, economic, and natural resource development, and consider the impact of changes in each region.
We must also connect with neighboring countries through means such as roads, railways, border trade, cultural exchange and tourism in the form of “Thailand +1, +2, or +3” frameworks.
From Saturday 19th to Tuesday 22nd this month, I would like to invite everyone, especially those in the northeastern region, to follow news about the Cabinet’s duties, as I have described, regarding the agenda of developing the northeastern region. I will summarize the results of this week by next Friday.
I would like people in other provinces to prepare for discussions with Cabinet members in the near future as well. Local government agencies need not make lavish preparations. I merely wish to meet with the public and local state agencies to learn of their problems. There is no need for costly grand receptions. We must change the way we approach this.
Finally, I would like to invite everyone to support and cheer on the Thai athletes taking part in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 20-30.
While victory may be the goal of athletes, their fan base, and a confirmation of human potential, the heart of competition is sportsmanship: knowing how to be noble losers, winners, and forgivers alike. Friendship is ultimately more valuable.
In addition, playing sports promotes healthy physical and emotional wellbeing. I therefore would like the Southeast Asian Games and any other competitive event be an inspiration for all Thais to take care of their health and love playing sports.
I would like to thank Channel Television Pool of Thailand channels 3, 5, 7, MCOT, and channel 11 for rotating their broadcast of the Southeast Asian Games competitions. Information is at the bottom of the screen for people who wish to follow the games.
Thank you. I wish everyone a happy weekend, and I look forward to seeing the people of Khorat on Monday. Sawasdee Krub