Community enterprises formed in forest area

Economy October 15, 2015 01:00

By PATCHAREE LUENGUTHAI
THE NATI

FOR A NUMBER of years, Siam Commercial Bank and the Crown Property Bureau Foundation have supported the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation in various activities to promote an eco-friendly community way of life for conservation of the country's western forest c



SCB has signed a five-year (2015-2019) collaborative agreement with the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation to provide financial support of Bt30 million, at Bt6 million a year, with the aim of establishing and building up community enterprises.
Sasin Chalermlab, secretary-general of Seub Nakhasathien Foundation, said that in the past decade, the foundation has made great efforts to tackle conflicts between people living in and around the western forest complex and forest rangers under the JoMPA (Joint Management of Protected Areas) programme, leading to a reduced level of forest encroachment. 
“Due to the growing number of the villagers, the foundation has to seek effective ways to enhance the quality of life and generate sustainable income for the communities in preventing forest encroachment. This is a reason to develop local products through community enterprises,” he explained. 
In the initial stage, three potential activities – cloth weaving, the growing of organic herbs and vegetable farming – are being developed into community enterprises.
For example, Arabica coffee plants are grown in Baan Mae Klong Noi and Baan Mae Klong Yai, in Tak province’s Umphang district, which is located 1,200 metres above sea level. Communities in the western forest complex supply turmeric to the Abhaibhubejhr Chao Phraya Hospital Foundation, a famous maker of herbal products.

All of these products are developed in terms of quality, design and packaging under the JOMPA brand.
Araya Phuphanich, SCB’s executive vice president, said that in addition to the financial contribution for the establishment of these enterprises, the bank would also provide marketing support.
It will act as a matchmaker, forming a bridge between a community enterprise and a client of the bank to form a business partnership between the two.
She added that in the future, if the community enterprises were ready to expand their markets, the bank would also support loans for further investment.
“The bank will disseminate [information about] the community enterprises in the western forest complex, demonstrating how communities can live in the forest areas with sustainable conservation and community development,” said Araya.