During the past weekend, I ventured out of Bangkok to the rural area surrounding Khon Kaen in the Northeastern, or Isaan, region of Thailand. I participated in a three-day workshop organized by the small, rural community hospital in Ubonratana. The major focus of the workshop was to show how Sufficiency Economy philosophy (เศรษฐกิจพอเพียง) can be applied to agriculture. It is called precision agriculture, or เกษตรประณีต, in which the focus is growing many crops, primarily for consumption and use by the household, instead of only one cash crop.
We visited several farmers who used this concept to grow several crops and support their families with great success. These crops can be used first for consumption, second for sharing with friends and neighbors and lastly for sale. In that way, families can reduce their household expenses and eat healthier by growing a variety of crops that they can use for food (ผักปลอดสาร), herbal medicines as well as generate income. The alternative is to grow a single cash crop and then buy everything that the household needs.
This video from www.porpeanglife.com explains precision agriculture in a very visual and simple way. In essence, it is a way to reduce risk by diversification.