One Tambon Project
This program is nationwide, covering nearly all of Thailand's 7,252 districts.
One Tambon is predicated on the idea that every Thai tambon (sub-district)
has a variety of specialized local products. The key assumption of the project
is that each community has a comparative advantage in one or more of these
traditional products. The project's role is to assist the communities in modernizing
the production and distribution process of these products so that they can
be competitive at the national and international levels. The government's
role is to identify candidate products and then to assist their development
through providing necessary support for their eventual success.
The program is clearly intended to find new niches in foreign markets and
develop new winners that will provide an alternative to the foreign direct
investment-based and mass produced exports products that the country has been
fast losing to China and other countries in the region with cheaper labor.
Other programs introduced during this period include:
- Housing projects for state workers and the low income masses introduced
in 2001 and 2002, respectively;
- Various small and medium sized enterprise (SME) development initiatives
introduced since 2001; and
- The comprehensive State-Enterprise Privatization Program started in 2001.
Clearly, it is a bit early to critically evaluate these initial attempts.
However it is safe to say that these programs, along with some of the government's
other fiscal activities have contributed to terminating asset deflation, reviving
domestic demand and bringing about positive asset demand and asset price expectations.
In addition there are some encouraging results stemming from the One Tambon
project. Government figures put total sales of village enterprises under the
program at $558 million in 2002, with an average profit margin of 26 percent.
Their products are also finding their way to the shelves of luxury shops in
Japan, the United States and Europe, thus enabling the village producers to
earn four or five times more on each item than when sold in the local market.