From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals October 12, 2018

Good evening to you all.

Throughout his 70-year reign, His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej was revered and loved by his people and the international community, proving himself to be one of the greatest monarchs in history who worked tirelessly for the happiness of Thailand and the people of Thailand.

Individuals, organizations, countries, and the global community were witnesses of the greatness of His Late Majesty who in 2006 received the special UNDP Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Nations, in recognition of his determination and commitment to furthering human development as well as his genuine talents in lifting the quality of life of his people. In 2009, His Majesty King Rama IX became a recipient of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Global Leaders Award.

And in 2012, the late monarch was presented with the Humanitarian Soil Scientist award, honoring him as the first recipient of the award in the world for his dedication to soil resource management. Most importantly, our beloved King Bhumibol was able to win the heart of people around the world by using his royal philosophies and principles which can be adopted and applied in the development of the country and people.

There are two symbolic days throughout the month of October that represent the bond between the monarch and Thai people. The first one is October 13th which marks the day His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away.

And the second one is October 23rd which marks Chulalongkorn Memorial Day, commemorating the passing of King Rama V. All walks of life in Thailand are grateful for both monarchs who spent their lifetime helping and empowering people of Siam through royal duties and various development undertakings. Their contributions to Thailand and its people started when they ascended the throne and never stopped until their last day. Thai people, both in Thailand and overseas, wish to show their love and loyalty to both great monarchs of Thailand.

Between October 12th and 23rd, the Government will be hosting several activities to commemorate the passing of both kings. Members of the general public are invited to take part in “Altruistic Heart: We Love Doing Good” activities. On October 13th, there will be an alms-offering ceremony and wreath laying ceremony in front of the late monarch’s image. Then, there will be a candle-lit ceremony to pay homage to His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. People are invited to wear yellow.  There is no need to wear black.

My beloved citizens, the current administration espouses the royal philosophies and apply them in all respects, especially the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy which has been incorporated into the 20-year strategic plan and the national reform initiative. Today, I’ll present you with the new Agricultural Theory which has significantly improved the wellbeing of a fellow farmer.

I want this story to be an inspiration for change. The farmer whose life was turned around was Boonlieng Ruenmalai, aka “Aunt Piag,” a resident of Ban Muang Ngarm Community in Sara Buri province. She has only 3 rai of land. Originally, she used all her land to grow rice, the crop that she relied on for 30 long years.

When the flood came, her paddies were destroyed. And when there was no water, her paddies withered. All year round, she would use chemical fertilizers, giving soil no time to rest. The rice output was low due to unhealthy soil and chemical substances. Debts would always stress her out.

With help from Wanida Damrongchai or Kamnan Kai, a village chief in Sao Hai district of Sara Buri, at Kok Nong Na Learning Center, Aunt Piag learned the 30-30-30-10 rule of the new Agricultural Theory which devised by HM King Rama IX. She was able to turn over a new leaf. Five years after she was introduced to the theory, Aunt Piag is now living a happy life. Let me explain the 30-30-30-10 rule.

The first 30 percent of the land should be used for water storage which should be enough for consumption, crop farming, and fish farming. This will allow land owners to have water supply all year round, without having to rely only on the rain. You can also raise chickens above fish ponds because their droppings can feed farmed fish.

The second 30 percent should be used for rice farming. Chemical substances should never be used because of health effects on humans, animals, and the ecosystem. Without chemicals, soil will replenish and become rich in nutrients.

The next 30 percent is for perennial trees and horticultural crops. You could grow valuable plants, which is one of the government’s policies, to increase your assets or you could grow fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Do not rely on one single crop.

The remaining 10 percent of land should be used for residential purposes. With the 30-30-30-10 rule, Aunt Piag was able to get out of debt and is now enjoying life with her family.

Part of Aunt Piag’s success can be attributed to Kamnan Kai who did it by trial and error until she found a solution to success. She then passed on her knowledge to others. Kamnan Kai is truly an exemplary civil servant who will lead her community to a successful reform by integrating the royal philosophies into daily routines. Same old methods are no longer sustainable. Their actions show that they are willing to improve themselves and adopt changes for the better.

The Government is hoping to introduce the 30-30-30-10 rule to 5 million rai of farmland by 2021, as part of its plan to lead Thai producers to sustainable agricultural practices including organic farming, the new Agricultural Theory, agroforestry or agriculture that incorporates the cultivation and conservation of trees.

This year, 70,000 farmers have been introduced to these concepts. Many of them have formed groups and networks, and formed an alliance with the private sector. The Government issued laws and measures to ensure agricultural sustainability and income stability for the farmers who are likened to the nation’s backbone. With the royal philosophies, farmers can attain financial ability.

My fellow Thai people, another example of incorporating His Late Majesty’s “understand, approach, and develop” principle at the provincial level is the introduction of a pilot project that covers all areas of development. The project is called “Kalasin Happiness Model.” It was initiated to address problems in Kalasin province. According to statistics, Kalasin is one of five provinces with the lowest incomes in the country and as many as 32% of its population are either poor or have unstable earnings. Bearing in mind its policy not to leave anyone behind, the Government introduced such project to enhance people’s living standards and raise their incomes in a sustainable manner. The project is divided into two phases.

The first phase, which has already commenced, is mainly focused on self-development, income generation, and raising living standards for low income families.

The second phase, meanwhile, will be implemented between 2019 and 2021, focusing on sustainability development, income distribution, potential enhancement, knowledge, reliance on new industries, and economic and social development – leaving no one behind.

This project lends a helping hand to specific groups of people including 1) low-income families, 2) crop farmers, 3) entrepreneurs of agriculture, tourism, education, and art and culture, and 4) manual labor. The project will be executed according to the civil state or Pracharat approach which brings together state agencies, the private sector, and the public. Results will be as follows.

In terms of enhancing the quality of life of low-income earners, the Government surveyed and searched for low-income families based on state welfare registration records. Eligible persons were selected by their communities which knew their backgrounds, professions, and financial statuses.

The survey shows that there are around 3,300 low-income families that are in desperate need of assistance in six aspects. 600 households needed access to social welfare and home maintenance. 1,000 families had trouble with debts including informal debts. 1,300 families needed healthcare services. 3,700 families needed career stability. And 14 families needed help with the justice system.

Once there was clarity on who the target group was and which forms of assistance were required to fix their problems, we would be able to provide solutions and address problems at their roots. The assessment of the project reveals that participants or the low-income families were able to increase their earnings by around 200 baht per household in the month of September or from 2,468 to 2,671 baht per household per month, accounting for an increase of 8%. This is only an average number. The fact is that some families earn more and some earn less, depending on various factors. With that said, the assessment shows that we are on the right track.

Efforts to focus on the development of farmer groups and entrepreneurs who are the main targets of the province to raise their potential and revenue base are as follows:

1. Agriculture. The Government has mobilized the Kalasin Green Market project to make Kalasin a safe food producing city with standardized organic farming practices which will increase the production area of safe food to 27,600 rai. It is expected that at the end of the 2017/18 production year, the project will be able to increase revenue from approximately 12 billion to more than 13 billion, an increase of around 10%. There are also projects to develop farmers into Smart Farmers, as well as the creation of new generation farmers. This has been implemented to over 2,000 farmers.

2. Trade and investment. The Government has developed the industrial sector, OTOP production and conducted entrepreneurship building, especially for SMEs, to enhance the productive spirit of innovation, technology and creativity through the “Star Mold” project, in collaboration with ISPST and the NRC to develop products to compete in modern markets as well as marketing promotions. This includes product showcases, business negotiations and business training (Biz Club) for entrepreneurs. This will help build confidence among investors and the industrial sector of provinces. Currently, revenue from trade, investment, and OTOP products increased from 2017 by more than 1,100 billion baht.

3. Tourism and arts and culture of Kalasin. The government has launched a project to create a model of Kalasin in conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand under the campaign “All Things Created in Kalasin” to distribute income to communities. The province has an additional 65,000 tourists, an increase of 17%, generating an increase in revenue by more than 28% compared to the same period last year. And 4. The development of the education sector. The Government has supported the development of the workers in and outside the labor system to increase employment by cooperating with the private sector with various courses This has produced around 6,200 people employed by 272 participating workplaces. This reflects the interest and cooperation of all sectors in developing their communities. The results from January to September 2018 has seen an increase in revenue for the province by more than 3 billion baht. In terms of facilitating justice and reducing disparities, we were able to create more awareness of the law and better access to the justice system. Approximately 14,000 people have participated in the project aimed to provide a better understanding of mortgages, pledges, fraudulent practices, loan sharks, pyramid schemes, legal contracts, and government services. Furthermore, protective debt mediation efforts have assisted more than 600 cases worth over 100 million baht. This includes ensuring that people do not repeat the same mistakes. As for the issue of drug addiction through the integrated efforts of all parties, including the military, police, and public sector, the “Kalasin model” has 6 major missions,
(1) House cleaning mission, this mission was initiated to prevent officials from having connection with illicit drug to build confident among the public.  In this regard, 36,000 officials undergo drug testing. Disciplinary actions were launched against those who detected with narcotics in religious places, schools, and public buses. This includes the setting up of checkpoints with 1,020 village safety teams.

(2) Crackdown missions. Under this action plan, officers had conducted drug raids on around 1,700 target vehicles, prisons, bars, gaming cafes, and hotels.

(3) Community surveillance missions.  Under this mission, village and community were encouraged to set up “village security teams” to set up checkpoints in more than 1,600 in villages and communities.

(4) Voluntary drug prevention missions with the establishment of a “narcotics volunteer force” in local areas to promote prevention campaigns, disseminate information, and convince addicts to undergo treatment. About 1,800 volunteers have been trained in drug prevention.

(5) The mission to reduce the number of drug addicts by rehabilitating over 1,000 people.

(6) Establish “provincial directorate centers” to drive various missions and lay out appropriate action plans.

In the next phase, Kalasin will continue to develop these guidelines with an aim of reducing its proportion of poor people from 32% in 2016 to 25%by integrating the budget program with the private sector and the public in ways such as water management and distribution in areas outside the irrigation sphere, increasing safe food production, and proactive justice programs to raise wellbeing.It includes projects from various sectors, such as the provincial “Happy” good service projects which focuses on providing fast government services and the Kalasin Green Space project to build cooperation and public participation in the development of Kalasin province on the basis of environmental protection, as well as waste management, foam and plastic reduction, and increasing green space. All these projects will help the implementation of the Kalasin Happiness Model of leaving no one behind, which can be expanded to other areas in the future.

Development to reduce disparities and income distribution must be done correctly. All provinces must be clear about sustainable approach. Do not use the methods of the past, otherwise things will revert back to how they were and people will never be able to overcome poverty.

Beloved citizens, at the beginning of the week, I attended the 10th Mekong – Japan Summit in Tokyo, which included the member countries of Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

All parties acknowledged the success of the implementation of the 2015 Tokyo Strategic Plan and ratified the 2018 Tokyo Strategic Plan for Mekong-Japan cooperation that sets the direction for cooperation in line with the three approaches. This consists of the Sustainable Development Goal, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, and the ACMECS Master Plan.

It also agreed on 3 pillars of cooperation, which are developing connectivity, creating a people-centric society, and creating awareness of the green Mekong subregion agenda. Japan also recognized the importance of the ACMECS Master Plan and incorporated it in the 2018 Tokyo Strategy.

It believes this connection will lead to concrete development in the sub-region. Member countries also created a cooperative approach with Japan in line with the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals. Thailand sees this as a way of supporting healthy growth and developing links in all dimensions.

For Thailand, Japan is considered a long-time true ally and a partner for sustainable development in the Mekong river basin. We are ready to support the Japanese private sector in playing a greater role in developing the region in order to generate economic growth, reduce development gaps, and raise the quality of life of the people through investment in various projects.

On the occasion of Thailand’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019, Thailand affirms its readiness to cooperate with Japan as a strategic partner to create a dynamic people-centric where no one is left behind that is ready to address changes in the future.

In addition, through meetings with the public and private sectors, Japan will cooperate with the Thai authorities to remove trade barriers. It also has a strong interest in Thai EEC projects. It has begun to invest and participate in the auction of the infrastructure projects and smart cities. I hope that both countries can continue to cooperate with each other.

Finally, during this Vegetarian Festival from the 9th to 17th October, there will be 9 days of charity activity according to religious principles along with the publicizing of various traditional Thai events, which is in line with the government’s policy of supporting local tradition, adherence to religious practices, and follow the sufficiency economy philosophy.

I would like to invite people to engage in prayer, hold to precepts, and adhere to religious principles according to longstanding traditions. Most importantly, I hope that everyone cultivates a habit of doing genuine good on a daily basis.

November will be a time for the Kathina festival. I invite people to cultivate their minds and engage in charitable activities. Those who are Buddhists are invited to adhere to the teachings of the Buddha for the sake of their families, society, and the nation.

People of other religious and faiths are also invited to conduct themselves according to their religious principles.

Thank you and I wish everyone a healthy body and mind and I hope that all families are safe and sound. Sawasdee krub.