New Theory Agriculture, focused on generating self-reliance in three levels (IFAD)

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“Grow what you eat, eat what you grow”, the self-reliant farming motto.

Developing Rural Territories through Business and Knowledge: The Thai experience with the OTOP and CLC

Thai rural development programs are implemented based on King Bhumibol Adulyadej ideas on economic development summarized in the so-called ‘Sufficiency Economy Philosophy’. Those principles are the base of the New Theory Agriculture, focused on generating self-reliance in three levels: the household, the community and the nation. Household self-reliance means a self-sustaining farm warrantying self-consumption based on a water pond, a field for crops to sell, and a house.

Hence, the farmer has access to markets while safely faces contingencies. “Grow what you eat, eat what you grow. Make what you use, use what you make.” But, beyond a very respected royal philosophy, Thai public policies for rural development support a national network of Local Scholars, or “Pratch Chao Bann”, who manage and develop Community Learning Centers (CLCs) in order to down-streaming the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Among many other public and private services at village, sub district and district levels that looking for citizen empowerment through self-management of the financial, natural and cultural resources of the Nation.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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