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 coastal plain areas, the lifestyles of community members in Thalokapo subdistrict in the past were tied to land and water. The main occupation in the community for both Thai Buddhists and Muslims is rice farming. Almost every household will have a small vegetable garden for household consumption. Some households make a living by fishing in canals, raising sea bass, black tiger shrimp, and white shrimp. The scenes of reciprocity and collaboration between Muslim and Buddhist communities are usual. When the unrest occurs in the area, some community members have migrated outside the area due to fear of unrest and being unable to work in the community. During the past decade, community members came together and founded a community enterprise, Ban Tha Dan curry paste which generated income to community members including youth, women and men, and the elderly. However, the business cannot expand and scale up to include more people due to the lack of sustainable business model and capacity to reach new market opportunities.
Baan Tha Dan Community Enterprise was registered and operated since 2015 producing local curry paste and using local ingredients. Initially, it can produce and sell around 400 kilograms per months. This community business has high potential to scale up to create more jobs and resilience and reduce poverty in the region.