This is the one year anniversary of the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and so it is fitting to highlight the great work he has done in Thailand. The King’s policies helped raise the standard of living for tens of millions of people in Thailand and make the country one of the largest food exporters in the world. In my opinion, King Bhumibol Adulyadej may be the greatest environmentalist of the last century. Westerner’s are often unaware of the King’s work because most of the information is in Thai, not English.
The New Theory is a land and water management method for small farms, both in normal times and in crisis. The theory is clearly defined and can be implemented by farmers themselves by following the steps and procedures that have been set. The ponds are large enough to ensure that there is enough water throughout the year, even in dry periods.
The main purpose of New Theory Agriculture is to make farmers more self-reliant through holistic management of their land, while living harmoniously with nature and within society. The King advised a self-supporting lifestyle for everyone. Farmers should be able to feed themselves, starting with rice production.
Enough rice should be grown for household consumption, with the excess harvest sold to raise income. Farmers are also advised to change from planting a single type of crop to integrated farming.
There are about 2,000 royally initiated water resource development projects spread across the country, and over 1,000 research centers devoted to everything from organic farms that produce affordable organic food to restoring coral reefs to small scale silk production to providing free training, seeds, seedlings and compost.
In addition to starting thousands of major sustainability projects, the King’s Royal Project Foundation has supported more than 39,277 families in 288 villages living in the highland through its 38 development centers.