“Putting gold leaves continuously until they appear at front of Buddha image” is a royal word of His majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which is inspiration for work operations of Pidthong Langphra Foundation under the Royal Initiative and Pidthong Langphra Activity Promotion and Development Institute under the Royal Initiative to apply and extend approximately 4,810 royal projects with the principles of operations following the royal footstep including understanding, accessing and developing. The villagers can participate in solving problems and they feel like having solidarity, because it is the key for sustainable development. A model area is selected nationwide for integration of knowledge according to the royal initiative. Even though each area has different problems, with royal sciences that he created and what he did to his people, it is clear that that this is truly a way-out of life of sustainable sufficiency.
Apart from unrest in the 3 southern-border provinces, there are many problems in various dimensions that directly affect living of villagers such as few options of career, lack of technology and modern innovation. Villagers in some area had no water for agriculture. In addition, Sandy soil cannot hold water so that it is impossible to grow plants in this area. Meanwhile, farmers lack of knowledge about cultivation and importantly had no channels for product sale.
In 2016, Pidthong Langphra Activity Promotion and Development Institute cooperated with government sectors, educational institutions and religious leaders to solve problems in the 3 southern-border provinces by selecting model areas in 7 districts of the 3 southern-border provinces where the leaders and villagers were ready to participate in thinking and doing. Model areas in Narathiwat Provinces are Hutae Thuwor Village, Khok Khian Sub-district, Mueang District and Khok Yamu Village, Phraiwan Sub-district, Tak Bai District. Model areas in Yala Province are Champoon Village, Tha Thong Sub-district, Raman District and KM.26 Village in Tanoh Puteh Sub-district, Bannangsata District and model areas in Pattani Province are Lapoh Village, Pa Rai Sub-district, Mae Lan District, Paen Village, Paen Sub-district, Saiburi District and Surao Village, Tha Nam Sub-district, Panare District.
With a policy of developing potentials of local people through work operations of village development volunteers who are local people by being a representative to learn and practice application of the royal initiatives for 2-5 months before returning to work in local area. They can coordinate with the community better than external officers. The volunteers have duty to be a mentor like “lead to do” or demonstrate, work together or let them do in accordance with contexts of seasonal working and religious practices in the area. An important part is to build up understanding with villagers under the principle of “understand, access and develop” for the villagers to express opinions or reflect their problems and the community’s issue and to build new local leaders. This will make the community development plan to be created from true need of the villagers and it can be connected with the development plan of related sectors.
The principle of area development starts from infrastructure system development including water for agriculture and household consumption, agricultural area and livestock management such as agricultural plots in each household for consumption, reducing household expenses, and expansion to mixed plot production group for further distribution and earning income. It includes more various production such as high-valued economic plants or livestock with focus on detailed and cautious process and an answer to the question “what do villagers get?” as well as the development of group management for villagers to be self-reliant and connected with external sectors in a form of Social Enterprise.
In 3 years of the model area development project in southern-border provinces with application of the royal initiatives, local villagers in 7 areas had better quality of life in all aspects. After solving water system problems, the villagers could grow plants with better productivity. The sandy soil could be improved with the royal science leading to community agriculture that they grew plants, mushroom and raise ducks, chicken, and fish for consumption. They could reduce expenses and left products could be sold as income for their family. They also extend to high-valued economic plant cultivation such as Hutae Tuwor Village, Khok Khian Sub-district, Mueang District, Narathiwat Province. Here, the villagers grow melon in sandy soil and earn a lot of income.
Additionally, local plants are developed in the agricultural product effectiveness enhancement project to have quality according to the royal science in southern-border provinces or quality durian project in 2020 of which, the production effectiveness development is promoted and durian market channel is introduced, as a famous fruit of Yala Province. It includes the project for restoring deserted rice farms, developing traditions along with the community’s way by solving problems of water system by restoring and developing streams which already exist in the community as well as promoting organic rice farming in Lapoh Village, Pa Rai Sub-district, Mae Lan District, Pattani Province.
For livestock, in the past, the villagers raised goats in a traditional way, but when they were granted royal goats, they gain knowledge about how to construct a fold, how to take care of goats and marketing promotion. Today, quality goats from Surao Village, Tha Nam Sub-district, Panare District, Pattani Province are highly needed in marketplaces that there are reservations across the year. Furthermore, sea crabs (black crabs) are raised in a condo which is a cement pond with little space that the community can earn more income. Such achievement is concrete, originated from the model area development project in southern-border provinces with application of the royal initiatives, that the problems are solved and multicultural areas are developed, which will continue for better quality of life of people in the three southern-border provinces.