50 years of his reign, His Majesty King Bhumibol has always kept his promise
to Thai People - the promise that he would reign with righteousness for
the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people. From the year 1950
until present he has done so much for the betterment of the country and
the people. As of 1998, there were 2,159 royal development projects
initiated by His Majesty and implemented throughout the country.
Most of the projects are aimed at improving the living conditions of his
subjects, particularly those in the remote rural areas.
projects have originated from His Majesty's extensive travel throughout
the country. Those royal visits, both official and private, to all
regions of the Kingdom have made the Royal Family deeply aware of the people's
problems and conditions.
Today, His Majesty
King Bhumibol Adulyadej and members of his family spend almost eight months
out of the year in one or another of the royal residences which have been
built outside of Bangkok. They are located in Chiang Mai in the North,
Sakon Nakhon in the Northeast, Prachuap Khiri Khan in the Mid-South and
Narathiwat in the Far South.
His Majesty has
become not only the most traveled monarch in Thai history but also the
best informed about a wide range of rural difficulties. His Majesty learns
first-hand, from the people themselves, of the local conditions and problems.
After having put them at their ease, he converses with the local inhabitants
and learns from them the problems with which they are faced as they themselves
perceived the situation. After consulting further with the officials
concerned, His Majesty makes his own conclusions about the problems, including
the causes and the possible methods to redress them. Upon his return
to Bangkok, or sometimes even on the spot, he will share what he has learned
with the members of the Government, requesting them to assist and give
support to the people wherever feasible. Sometimes he has used his
own funds in the early stages to help a project get off the ground. In
1988, he established the Chaipattana Foundation to fund and help in accelerating
rural development projects that are beneficial to the people and the country
as a whole. More information on Chaipattana Foundation and its projects
can be found at http:// www.chaipat.or.th
His Majesty the
King never simply issues a directive: the impetus comes from the local
population, who must agree with the proposal and cooperate to see that
it is successfully implemented.
or "royal-initiated" projects have all been started in this way.
They cover the whole spectrum of rural problems in Thailand, from the introduction
of new crops to water conservation, from swamp drainage to the preservation
of the national forests. In all, the aim has been sustainable development,
serving not only immediate needs but also those of future generations by
conserving the present environment and seeking to restore areas that have
already suffered from misuse.
These projects are
later known as "Royal Development Projects", which are divided into many
categories and carried out in every region of the country. The Royal
Development Projects can be classified as follows:
1. The Projects
Initiated According to His Majesty's Wishes: These are
the projects that
His Majesty implements, and in which he conducts study, and experiments
himself. They are based on the recommendations of experts, and use
his private funds. Once the projects have yielded satisfactory results,
His Majesty passes them on to the government for further development.
2. The Royal Projects:
They are the private projects of Their Majesties the King and Queen, such
as the crop substitution project and the preservation of watershed areas
in the North. The objectives of the crop substitution project are
to stop opium cultivation, deforestation, and the slash and burn cultivation
methods used by the hilltribes. His Majesty has given advice and
assistance to hilltribes on how to plant cool climate fruits and flowers,
which yield a better income.
3. The Projects Under
Royal Patronage: They are projects on which His Majesty gives advice
and guidelines to the private sector, which then implements them using
its own funds, technical and human resources. These projects include
the Thai Encyclopaedia Project for Youth, the Dictionary Project, and the
Din Daeng Cooperative Village Development Project.
4. The Royal-Initiated
Projects: They are projects which His Majesty Initiates, and gives
advice to government agencies concerning necessary studies and implementation.
The Royal Development Projects are also classified into the following eight
categories, according to the sector of the economy that is targeted:
More details on Royal
Development Projects can be found at http://www.rdpb.go.th
3. Public Health
4. Occupational Promotion
5. Water resources
7. Public Welfare, and
Today, His Majesty
is not just the Head of State, he has also become a key factor in the development
of the country. One of the best-known development theories suggested
by His Majesty is "the New Theory". Introduced many years ago, the
New Theory involves land management and the development of water sources
for agricultural purpose. Its formula is 30-30-30-10. Under
the New Theory, a plot of land is divided into four portions, namely 30
percent for a water source, 30 percent for a rice field, 30 percent for
mixed crops such as fruit trees and vegetables and 10 percent for residence,
animal farms and rice barns
The New Theory has
several advantages. It is uncomplicated, easily implemented, and
does not involve costly technology. It has been tried and tested,
and has produced satisfactory results. Farmers who have followed
this theory have become self-sufficient and self-reliant.
All Thais come to
understand the word "self-sufficient" after His Majesty the king suggested
a self-sufficient economy as a way to pull Thailand out of the economic
crisis that erupted in 1997. The important idea of a self-sufficient
economy is that the Thais should live a life that leaves them enough to
eat, while they rely on their own economy. With rich and fertile
land suitable for food crops, Thailand should conduct research and development
on soil and crop improvement. People should produce enough for their
own consumption first. His Majesty the King has suggested Government
spend part of its budget on land development for people to establish self-sufficient
farms. People are encouraged to apply the New Theory on land management
and development of water sources for agricultural purposes. When
there is a surplus in productivity, more exports will be seen, and a higher
economic growth will return.
His Majesty the
King's suggestion on the self-sufficient economy aims to encourage people
to help themselves and strengthen communities through public participation.
The idea places emphasis on basic economic development to be carried out
step by step. People will greatly benefit from the development process,
which is set to respond to their immediate economic demands and enable
them to get through the crisis. This new development trend is beginning
to lay down firm foundations for all of Thailand.