Two more moguls join 'Team Thailand'

Two more moguls join 'Team Thailand'

Two additional Thai millionaires -- Chalerm Yoovidhya and Prayudh Mahagitsiri -- will allocate multi-million baht budgets to help the newly-established Team Thailand fill the state's coffers amid efforts to tackle the economic impact of Covid-19.

Both millionaires are especially interested in providing financial support to the agricultural sector, according to letters they sent recently to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The Yoovidhya family, owners of the Red Bull energy drink empire, will spend 300 million baht to help make Thailand more self-reliant as it joins efforts by the nation's 20 richest people to help tackle the virus.

Mr Chalerm and his family, rank second among the 20 wealthiest Thai businessmen and clans, and are the latest to accept an invitation from Gen Prayut who is forming the mogul-led Team Thailand to help get the economy back on its feet. The family plans to join hands with the Agri-Nature Foundation and civic sector to set up the phueng ton phuea chat or self-reliance for the nation project for the next three years.

"We want to support and mentor people who want to adopt the 'sufficiency economy' approach as their new path to life," the family said in the letter, delivered to Government House yesterday.

Introduced by King Rama IX, the sufficiency economy model encourages people to be more self-reliant. For example, farmers are advised not to grow only rice for sale but also fill their farms with a variety of vegetables for their own consumption. The approach is regarded by economists as the risk distribution method and it gained currency during the 1997 financial crash.

"Life in the aftermath of Covid-19 is uncertain and many changes will be unavoidable but this will help give birth to a new normal," the letter said. Under the project, the family will turn part of its land into a learning centre to equip people with a self-reliant attitude.

"We want to build food security for the nation," says the letter.

Meanwhile Mr Prayudh, chairman of the PM Group with an array of businesses ranging from industry, consumer products, to property development, said in his letter that he wants to support farmers by helping them develop technology so they can add value to their products. Up to 150 million baht has been allocated to help people, he said.

Among his relief package measures is the purchase of farm produce in Lamphun which he said can help 5,000 households for six months.

Mr Prayudh added the fund would be used to purchase products from farmers in Lamphun to stabilise their income for the time being.

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