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Banana for Solving Crisis: A Lesson to Recover Community Business under COVID 19 Situation

 27 เม.ย. 2565 14:56 น. | อ่าน 145
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          Ma Ngei-Khok Muang Community in Pa Ching Sub-District, Chana District, Songkhla Province, is a community with most local people working in agricultural field including Para rubber farms and fruit gardens as well as growing home-grown vegetables as food and products for increasing income. Moreover, local people also assemble to gather local products for processing and increasing value of agricultural products as a group called “Ban Ma Ngei-Khok  Muang Food Processing Community Enterprise Group”. This strong assembly generates benefits on unity and mutual assistance among community leaders and local people. They are also supported on knowledge and innovations by local academies leading to income generation enabling local people to rely on themselves on economy and food sustainability.

          Ban Ma Ngei-Khok Muang Food Processing Community Enterprise Group was established in 2016 based on demand to solve agricultural problems of Ma Ngei-Khok Muang Community including cultivated banana, yam, and peanuts that are excessive for demands of market. The group leader consulted with some government agencies to solve this problem and it became the origin of this group establishment for processing community’s agricultural products in order to add marketing value. In the first processing, banana, yam, and peanuts were processed but the best choice was banana because it gives productivity throughout the year and in every household. Banana was firstly processed as crispy banana. However, this community business that had been operated properly had to be stopped in the 5th year due to COVID-19 pandemic. Orders of crispy banana that had been sold in nearby communities and several provinces were cancelled.

Banana for Solving Crisis

          Although COVID-19 pandemic has affected to people in all groups by reducing income, there are always some opportunities that can be found in all crisis. Although assembly of members of Ma Ngei-Khok Muang Village has been performed consecutively, seeking for solution of such crisis after facing with it is considered as the important matter that must be brainstormed by all members of the group thoroughly. Therefore, they brainstorm to seek for new methods to process cultivated banana as new products that there are no or a few competitors in market. This highly challenges community members because banana processing can increase banana price with price guarantee in order to make local people to have certain income. Another outcome is new career that can build good quality of life of local people.

From such problem, Songkhla Community College participates in helping and supporting Ban Ma Ngei-Khok Muang Food Processing Community Enterprise Group by adding value to existing resources. It is found that raw banana can be processed as flour for cooking dessert in lieu of all-purpose wheat flour. In addition, it also adds more food nutrients including carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins, protein, and anti-oxidants. For weight loss and health care, it is also found that banana is classified as resistant starch that is preferred among people who are losing weight through Ketogenic Diet, i.e., focusing on consuming protein and High-density lipoprotein while reducing flour-sugar because banana consist of low Glycemic Index (GI) making blood sugar level to be in controllable level without rapid changes. It can be used for balancing excretory system as well.

          Procedures and methods to make banana flour is peeling ripe and almost ripe cultivated banana before slicing into thin slices in water in order to prevent banana from turning back after exposing with oxygen. Subsequently, such banana will be dried with sunlight or baked before grinding with a small milling machine. It will be screened with grille and contained in clean and sealed container. Banana flour with good characteristics must have smooth and even texture with white color and light raw banana’s odor. To maintain banana flour, it must be contained in container with moisture proof that can prevent bites of animals, for example, glass bottle, plastic box, can, plastic bag, aluminum bag, or laminated bag. If it is contained in vacuum container, it will be able to be stored for longer duration at normal room temperature.

Overcome Crisis with Power of Teamwork

          Ban Ma Ngei-Khok Muang Food Processing Community Enterprise Group has adjusted itself to deal with COVID-19 pandemic by processing cultivated banana as banana flour to respond to the target customers who want to control weight and take care of their health as well as customers who have allergy to wheat flour and want to use banana flour to make desserts and cakes. Currently, banana flour has already been registered by Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Moreover, the group also develops banana flour as some dessert recipes with flour banana as ingredients, for example, banana cake, brownie, and glutinous rice balls with coconut milk. As a result, banana flour can respond to demands in all dimensions. For anyone interested, please order and ask for more information via Facebook Perk horse snacks and food

          Learning of Ban Ma Ngei-Khok Muang Food Processing Community Enterprise Group to build  opportunities in adding value to products and generate income of members is a good model of self-adjustment to deal with COVID-19 situation. It is considered as the good way to approach market and provide more alternatives to current consumers. The outcome is considered as the power of group members that is considered as the important mechanism to drive their success and enable them to overcome all crises and problems during these 5 years. Consequently, group members can have better quality of life and sustainable happiness. They can become the model of community business development on agricultural products processing for other communities in southern border provinces and a part to make people in the border areas of Thailand happy and peace will be occurred in these areas in the future.

Conclusion

          Although banana is classified as normal fruit, in fact, it can be considered as a local economic capital. When it is value added based on local wisdom under cooperation of local people, it can improve local economic potential based on existing economic capital.

          When local economic potential is improved, income will be increased. When income is increased, quality of life will be better. They will love and cherish their community increasingly leading to higher demands on community’s security. Finally, they will cooperate with government sector or related agencies, organizations, and sectors to solve the problem on southern border provinces.

          This is one of several case studies used in solving the problem on southern border provinces based on local economic development before connecting with security in other dimensions.

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