His Majesty the King’s benevolence towards farmers is evident. He has developed the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy for them to adopt in their lives to help ease their suffering.
The book, Khwan Khao Khwan Phaedin, or Goddess of Rice, Soul of the Nation, features His Majesty the King’s goodwill toward his farming subjects. It is published by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives on the auspicious occasion of the Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne in 2006 and His Majesty’s 80th birthday anniversary in 2007.
According to the book, the currents of modernization are rapidly descending on Thai farmers, who have inherited rice-farming traditions that go back thousands of years. Along with the currents come national development policies that could promote consumerism and turn the country into a typical industrialized country. The result is that technologies and knowledge acquired from abroad have been utilized in the countryside without careful consideration, which should be guided by Thai wisdom passed on for generations.
The saying that “farmers’ suffering is the King’s suffering” is by no means exaggerated, because His Majesty the King is well aware of the hardships plaguing his subjects, learned from his constant travels to visit them and from the direct conversations he has had with them. His ultimate solution to remedy the ills is given in the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy.
In the beginning, many people had difficulty understanding what “Sufficiency Economy” meant. His Majesty first introduced the “New Theory” approach, whereby the land is divided into four parts with a ratio of 30:30:30:10. The first 30 percent of the land is designated for a pond to store water for use during the dry season and to raise fish. The second 30 percent is set aside for rice cultivation for household consumption. The third is used for growing fruit and perennial trees, vegetables, herbs, and other crops. The last 10 percent is for accommodation, livestock raising, and other activities. The main concern is to meet the household consumption needs. Excess produce can then be sold or traded within the community or processed to be marketed outside the community.
It is worth noting that the success of translating the concept and the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy into practice depends on the ability to apply and adjust it to suit each individual farmer’s situation. Be that as it may, the correct practice along the guidelines of Sufficiency Economy must begin with people’s mentality. People must overcome excessive desire, adhere to moderation and reasonable judgment, and effectively manage limited natural resources for maximized use, while upholding the virtue of diligence and disciplined spending and saving, in order to maintain a stable existence despite risks brought on by repeated waves of change.
It did not take long before Sufficiency Economy proved theoretically and practically relevant to real life. It has been widely recognized as the wisest solution in an age where small fish fall prey to big fish. Farmers who adopt His Majesty’s remedy and apply it properly are able to overcome obstacles threatening their way of life and achieve self-reliance and happiness.
/Source: Thai Government's Public Relations Department