COSMETIC products made from birds’ nests, Hawm Kradang-Ngah rice carrying the brand “NAT”, and decorative lamps made from banana leaf sheaths and rubber carrying the brand “Econi” - disparate and unlikely items, but they have been placed at the front and
The products were launched as part of a project named “Product value addition and brand creation of premium goods in Southern Border Provinces” at The Emquartier shopping centre in Bangkok.
Narathiwat Governor Sittichai Sakda attended the event and praised the scheme as raising the standard of life of southern people by providing jobs, opportunities and incomes.
The Bt9-million project, a partnership between Thaksin University’s Creative Lab Center (CLC) and the Interior Ministry’s Office of Strategy Management in Southern Border Provinces, was planned to operate from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016.
“CLC consists of experts from various disciplines such as marketing, design and technology. It was established to enhance the potential of local resources uniquely found in each province in order to be internationally recognised as remarkable premium products representing the characteristics of such provinces.
“We effectively executed our own creative and complete value-addition process based on the principle of ‘giving and sharing’ to design and develop high-quality local products,” CLC director Hudson Sirisuwapong said.
He said more than 700 entrepreneurs had joined the campaign but only two candidates were selected – the cosmetic products under the brand “NAT” and the brand “Econi”.
“I was born in a rubber business family, which was directly affected by the economic downturn that caused the price of rubber to drop, so we tried to find ways to add value to rubber. Thanks to CLC’s project, we were selected among more than 700 candidates. CLC’s marketing expertise helped us analyse the trend while the designing experts helped boost the product’s appeal,” said Econi’s |managing director Kornravee Hong-amata.
“Econi” is derived from the words ecology, and ‘ni’ which is the suffix for the southern Thai language, she said. The eco-friendly Econi lamp is made from banana leaf sheaths, which people throw away, coated and glued with latex from the rubber tree. Moreover, the product’s package can be made into another lamp – while reducing rubbish.
“I was born and grew up in Narathiwat. I want to add more value to materials whose potential people have overlooked – such as Hawm Kradang-Ngah rice that is only found in Narathiwat. Locals used it as animal feed or fertiliser despite its characteristics such as its unique smell and antioxidant,” said NAT co-founder Suttipong Puttipairoj.
“As the bird’s-nest prices slumped due to the bad economic conditions, we boosted its value by combining bird’s nest extract into a sleeping mask under the brand NAT, which derived from two words ‘natural’ and Narathiwat,” he said.
“We told farmers in Narathiwat about how to harvest Hawm Kradang-Ngah rice properly and purchased the rice from them, helping to distribute income to the community,” said NAT’s general manager Pornprapa Thongkhaoon.
Interior Ministry permanent-secretary Kritsada Boonrat said the project was implemented to drive the country’s economy at a local level, according to the national economic strategy of Thailand 4.0 – gathering innovation, local wisdom, and creativity to improve the country.