Agriculture under the Royal Patronage of Thai Kings
During the reign of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), Thailand bacame a member of the world community in the true sense of the word in terms of political. The nationís political and socio-economic developments were entwined with changes in the outside world, with direct mutual repercussions. His majestyís major public policy was centered around national unity through the concept of nationalism by introducing universal an cosmopolitan practices to Thailand and the Thais as a whole in an attempt to bring Thailand on the same footing as the international community. One such public policy in the internationalization drive of thailandís agricultural sector under King Vajiravudh was the emphasis on irrigation projects, both as a sheer continuation of the initiatives of his late father, King Chulalongkorn, and a furhter development through the re-establishment of Krom Klomng (the Department of Canals) under the new name of Krom Tod Nam (the Department of Water Regulation) under the supervision of the Ministry of Agricultural Administration. In this bid Sir Thomas Wark was commissioned as the expert advisor to the Department.
A map depicting a network of canals in Greater Bangkok
Simultaneuously, the king also extended rice cultivation on a larger scale, by commanding that the Ministry of Agricultural Administration organize the 2nd Agricultural and Commercial Exposition held in April B.E. 2454 (1911), at Sra Patum Palace to publicize the quality of Thailandís produce. The king also promoted the development of rice varieties through the founding of rice varieties experiment centre at Klong 6, Rangsit, Tanyaburi District in B.E. 2459 (1816) to serve as a rice cultivation station for the purposes of rice varieties improvement. The 1st World War whioch lasted between B.E. 2457-2461 (1914-1918) culminated in an economic depression across the world, wreaking havoc on the Thai economy. However, King Vajiravudh cautiously pursued a policy to alleviate the impacts of the crisis to the best of his ability by economizing on public expenditures in all respects, or the implementation of various
public projects to encourage particupation from foreign trade partners in the countryís external trade. In particular, the king planned to stimulate the agricultural sector through the organizing of the National Museum Exposition with the purpose of "organizing an exposition on a larger scale than ever as there shall be competitions of various products Ė i.e. domestic and foreign products ranging from agricultural tools, and heavy and light industrial goods ...Ē Unfortunately, King Vajiravudh passed away before the implementation of this grand plan, putting an end to this exposition scheduled to be held at Lumpini Park.