TISTR and Big Rock on STI for OTOP Upgrade and Agricultural Innovation
“Big Rock” was a project conceptualized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), Thailand, previously named the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to support Thailand 4.0, a value-based economic model that emphasized on research and development (R&D), science, technology and innovation (STI), and creativity to unlock economic challenges such as a middle income trap, an inequality trap, and an imbalanced trap. Additionally, the project was to fulfil Thailand’s vision to become a developed country with security, prosperity, and sustainability in accordance with the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy introduced by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej for enhancing social security through equitable distribution of income, opportunity, and wealth (Inclusive Growth Engine), building economic prosperity through R&D, STI, and creativity (Competitive Growth Engine), and creating sustainability through environmentally friendly development and low carbon society (Green Growth Engine).
Under Big Rock, the budget has been allocated to 14 piloted initiatives implementing by the organizations under MHESI namely Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR), Office of the Permanent Secretary (OPS), Department of Science Service (DSS), National Science and Technology Development (NSTDA), Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT), and National Innovation Agency (NIA). The organizations have collaboratively integrated on two significant projects which were (1) STI for One Tambon One Product (OTOP) Upgrade in 10 Provinces and (2) One Tambon One Agricultural Innovation.
(1) STI for One Tambon One Product (OTOP) Upgrade in 10 Provinces
The goal of this project was to utilize STI and R&D through creative thinking in order to enhance the quality of OTOP products in 10 targeted low-income provinces of Thailand by creating product value addition and differentiation, promoting equal opportunity and income distribution, establishing strong, inclusive community enterprises, and stimulating economic growth.
The 10 provinces that TISTR has applied its knowledge and transferred appropriate technology were Mae Hong Son, Narathiwat, Pattani, Kalasin, Nakhon Phanom, Chai Nat, Tak, Buriram, Amnat Charoen, and Nan. These provinces have marked in the list of poverty and inequality in 2016 by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council.
The following STI have been transferred to the community enterprises were as follows:
- Biomass Gasification for Community
- Gluten-free Cricket Production
- Mushroom Culture and Production
- Bamboo Tissue, Herb, Strawberry Culture, Culture Medium, and Transplantation Process
- Worm Culture, Production, and Instant Cooking Recipe
Apart from the technology transfer, the series of seminar “STI for OTOP Upgrade” in 10 provinces were organized by TISTR together with private and public organizations. In the seminar, there were many interesting activities that would be beneficial for community enterprises i.e. 1) OTOP academy on six key areas of development such as quality of raw materials, product innovation, production process, machinery design, standards and certification, and packaging design, 2) consultation services for entrepreneurs, startups, and community enterprises, 3) STI for OTOP matching and coupon registration, 4) R&D showcases from STI organizations, and 5) banking and investment consultancy from financial institutions.
MHESI and TISTR executives monitored the projects under Big Rock such as Biomass Gasification for Community, Gluten-free Cricket Production, and Mushroom Culture and Production which have been transferred to 200 sub-district administration officials, vocational students, and farmers from National Farmers Council in Amnat Charoen province.
MHESI and TISTR executives and researchers conducted workshop and disseminated STI knowledge to OTOP entrepreneurs in the subjects of 1) production of ready-to-drink rice mixed with black sesame, 2) garlic processing, 3) logo and packaging design, 4) versatile stove for value addition to agricultural products, 5) utilization of fertilizer and soil analysis and testing application, 6) production of organic compost and liquid fertilizer, and 7) brand communication through packaging, label, and design.
TISTR representatives, Phra Dabos Foundation in the Southern border provinces of Thailand, and Royal Thai Navy Marine Task Force, discussed about the collaboration on STI for OTOP Upgrade to develop entrepreneurs’ skills and capabilities in three Southern border provinces of Thailand.
Moreover, TISTR and Ministry of Science and Technology Coordination Centre, South Region visited the development of coconut processing community enterprise in Ban Thon Aman, Khok Khian Sub-district, Narathiwat province which was a pilot project on indigenous fruit processing technology of ready-to-drink longkong juice transferred by TISTR.
Furthermore, TISTR and Provincial Community Development Office of Narathiwat arranged the STI for OTOP Upgrade workshop for 35 entrepreneurs focusing on the development, commercialization, and distribution of cosmetic formulation from turmeric, food processing and innovation, rubber coated gloves, and packaging design.
MHESI and TISTR executives attended the seminar on STI for OTOP Upgrade in Buriram province. TISTR provided support in packaging, machinery, product development, and FDA standard and certification. There was also STI for OTOP matching and coupon registration to provide in-depth advices and solutions for OTOP development.
The successful transfer of STI and R&D would support OTOP entrepreneurs to be able to apply appropriate technology in order to improve productivity, enhance product and service quality, minimize production cost, generate higher income and employment, gain competitive advantages in domestic and global markets, and nurture self-reliance and sustainable economy.
(2) Project of One Tambon One Agricultural Innovation
The agricultural sector has played a crucial role in the growth of Thailand’s economy as it was an important source of production and employment.
However, the demography of the agricultural sector has been changing and significantly affecting Thailand’s overall food production capacity and competitiveness. The number of farmers has continually declined and entered into aging society. Besides, there was the fact that farmers still had less adaptability to the economic changes and inadequate knowledge and skills on the application of technology and modern techniques to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural production.
Hence, Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) and the National Farmers Council collaboratively implemented the project under Big Rock named “One Tambon One Agricultural Innovation”, aiming to develop agriculturalists’ abilities to apply technology in order to improve the agricultural production system and adapt to the rapid socioeconomic changes. The project implementation was consistent with the 20 Year National Strategy (Competitiveness Enhancement), the Twelfth National Economic and Social Development Plan (Promoting a Just Society), and government policies on reducing social disparity, creating opportunity to access public services, and utilizing STI and R&D.
The objective of this project was to create appropriate agricultural innovation through participatory action research in the targeted sub-districts, so that farmers could earn a 10% higher household income. The target groups were 10,000 farmers and 200 farmer organizations in 878 districts, 76 provinces of Thailand.
There were seven key innovations that TISTR focused on as follows:
One Tambon One Agricultural Innovation Project would create the opportunity for farmers to access agricultural STI adapted to the context of each district. The concept was developed from local wisdom and enhanced innovation by the collaboration between researchers and farmers in order to improve productivity, quality, efficiency of production, and product processing as well as maximizing agricultural wastes and tools. Therefore, farmers could apply STI solutions and disseminate to others. In addition, the cooperative research network was established at the sub-district level to be a center for comprehensive consultation including agricultural research for new innovation, technology, and marketing.
Last but not least, the project of One Tambon One Agricultural Innovation has been awarded the Public Sector Excellence Award (Lert-Rat) 2019 on the improvement of the public services with convenience, promptness, transparency, fairness, and satisfaction.
Dr. Rochana Tangkoonboribun
Director, Expert Centre of Innovative Agriculture
R&D Group for Bio-Industries
Tel: +662 577 9005