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A Model Sufficiency Economy Learning Center in the South

16 January 2015 (Readers 1190)
Many Sufficiency Economy learning centers have been established in the southernmost provinces of Thailand. One of them is the Sufficiency Economy Learning Center of the Sirindhorn Military Camp.

This Sufficiency Economy Learning Center is located on an area of 28 acres In Khao Tum subdistrict, Yarang district, Pattani province.

It was set up in December 2008 by the Fourth Army Area Command as a model for the application of the Sufficiency Economy philosophy. Local residents joined hands with security forces in setting up the learning center, which now serves as a place where local villagers can meet and learn new skills to earn their living in a sustainable way.

Inside the center are agricultural demonstration plots for groups of people to learn proper cultivation, fish farming, chicken raising, and other subjects. Training is provided in the use of organic fertilizers, instead of chemicals, to reduce production costs and promote a healthy lifestyle. So far, thousands of people have been trained in how to maximize the use of their land, by means of growing vegetables using effective micro-organism (EM) fertilizers and keeping fish ponds, for instance.

Such a project could also help solve economic issues in the area, where security forces and development workers get in direct contact with local residents, listen to their problems, and give them needed assistance.

A great number of people have visited this learning center, and they have been able to improve their farms and make real gains in productivity. The center has also promoted relations between officials and local people and helped reduce suspicions of local people toward officials.

Visitors were told that the objective of the center was also to teach local people to become self-reliant in agriculture based on the Sufficiency Economy concept, apart from reducing suspicions of local people toward officials.

Local residents attending training there will also learn the solving of drought and water problems, and young people, in particular, will be provided with knowledge about the dangers of drug abuse in order to turn them away from drug use. Security forces and public health volunteers serve as resource persons at this learning center.

The Sufficiency Economy philosophy, advocated and developed by His Majesty the King, is about societal happiness. It places humanity at the center of development. It focuses on well-being rather than wealth, places sustainability at the core of all efforts, understands the need for human security, and concentrates on building peoples capabilities to develop their full potential, with safeguards against external challenges.

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