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Farm waste served up as eco-friendly products |

Farm waste served up as eco-friendly products

  Wipawinee and Tharapat Chaisutthiroj left behind the security of company pay cheques to pursue a new start as entrepreneurs when they saw a business opportunity to develop an innovative product line that makes use of the husks – usually considered waste in farming.

 They joined up with a Malaysian friend with expertise in research and development. The friend, who lives in the United States, had suggested they go into business together.


 Since 2010, the company that they established has produced a range of kitchen accessories made from the husks and the business has enjoyed export success in Europe and the United States. Sales are averaging Bt20 million a month, said Tharapat, who is director of Husks Green Co Ltd, in an interview with The Nation recently. 

Tharapat said that, together with the Malaysian partner, they established a company in Singapore called Husks Green International in 2010. The business conducted research and development activities until the partners felt they were ready to launch their first product in 2012.

Using a manufacturing facility in Malaysia, they laid the foundations for the venture’s export success. The inroads into Europe and the United States were aided by a long-established welcoming attitude among consumers in those markets for environmentally friendly products. 

“Our first product was a coffee cup and then we went on to develop other kitchen items such as a dish, a bowl, drinking glass, chopping board and the like. All of our products are made from rice husks,” Tharapat said.

Buoyed by their success with the overseas shipments, the company moved the production plant from Malaysia to China, taking advantage of the lower costs. The company continued to carry out research and development in Malaysia.

In another sign of confidence for the company, it set up marketing and distribution operations in Thailand with the establishment of Husks Green Co Ltd in 2017, with registered capital of Bt1 million.

 “We decided to open our business in Thailand as part of our plan to expand our market presence into Asian countries,” Tharapat said. 

He said the export success encouraged them in their ambitions for the Thai market, which they entered last year with a focus on corporate customers wanting to offer premium products to their customers.

To support its plans for Thailand, the company has begun negotiations with Ecotopia, a marketplace for eco-products at Siam Discovery in Bangkok, for distribution of the products.

The company has also opened a Facebook page for online sales.

“We believe that this is the right time for us to distribute our products in Thailand, as Thai people are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment and are more open to buying eco-products. This is especially true of the young generation,” Tharapat said.

To aid the company’s promotion efforts, Tharapat submitted two of the products – tableware and a chopping board – as entries in the Thailand Green Design Awards 2018 (TGDA2018).

Both products received awards at the event, which was conducted by the Kasetsart Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Product Improvement Institute (KAPI) of Kasetsart University. The winners were announced in March.

The tableware won in the category of life enhancement under the corporate group in the awards, and the chopping board came second in the resource-efficiency category for the corporate group.

“When we won those awards, that helped us to promote our products to the market,” Tharapat said.

He said that if the products enjoy more success in the Thai and Asian markets, the company may set up a new manufacturing plant in Thailand, attracted by the greater access to rice husks as the raw material for the products. 

 

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