UNDP Thailand; with support of the Citi Foundation, has conducted a program on “Strengthening Community Entrepreneurship and Localizing Social Incubation in the Southern Border Provinces in the Context of COVID-19 Crisis” to assist local-level institutions in creating employment opportunities and income-generating businesses targeting low-income households, women groups, youth, and unemployed persons in the aftermath of COVID-19 crisis by strengthening capacities of local men and women to become community business incubators equipped with skills and knowledge necessary to start or develop their own viable and sustainable community enterprises. The program was designed through consultations among local communities, and respective local governments.
Situated in the mountainous areas, most of the villagers rely on income from agricultural products such as durian, rubber, long gong, and other fruits with small number of shop keepers and trading service. Due to its richness of natural resources, the local economy in Baanrae subdistrict benefits largely from agricultural business and trading, but most income are concentrated to owners of large-scale plantation and only generated during a few months of each year. Thus, some women groups, youth, and low-income households opted for processing agricultural crops that exist in the area, such as seasoning fried banana, fried durian, durian paste, coffee, etc. to make additional income. The COVID-19 crisis in 2020 decreased the number of visitors to the district and surrounding areas; subsequently, it resulted in less opportunities for them to sell their products to regular visitors. Thus, increasing local income and well-being through the development of value-added products and strengthening entrepreneurial capacities are essential to local economic empowerment for the district.
Baan Rae traditional coffee roasters gathered in groups for over a decade. Mostly, women members produce it in their own homes and sell in local communities and neighboring districts. In order to enhance its potential impacts, this community business can be strengthened and become a community solution to reduction of poverty and economic resilience.