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Rice Innovation Adding Value to the Thai Rice Industry
Source: thailand.prd.go.th
Source Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Country: Thailand
Created: Jul 05, 2010

With innovation and creativity, Thai rice can be processed into various products, adding value to the country’s rice industry. Minister of Science and Technology Virachai Virameteekul said that rice, the country’s most significant crop, is the staple food of not only the Thai people, but also a major portion of the global population. Thailand has been the world’s largest rice exporter for many years, so rice products bring in sizable income in terms of export value and they also contribute to Thailand’s creative economy.

Because of the importance of rice, the National Innovation Agency, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, is joining hands with the Thai Rice Foundation under the Patronage of His Majesty the King in organizing the Rice Innovation Awards 2010.

Thai rice can be made into many products, such as noodles, crackers, flour, health drinks, and cooking oil. Gaba rice, which has many health benefits, is considered an innovation. It is made by soaking the brown rice in water for an extended period of time before cooking it.

Taking into consideration the marketing of processed rice products, vast opportunities are still open to traders. The processing of rice into various products is also one way to stabilize the rice industry, since rice prices are at times volatile.

Minister Virachai said that creativity would help add value to agricultural products, leading to what is called “Creative Agriculture.” This would be possible when knowledge in science and technology is adapted to benefit industrial and commercial sectors.

As for the Rice Innovation Awards, contests have been held since 2007 to raise public awareness of the development of Thai rice innovations, in both form and the production process. Entries are now being accepted until the end of July 2010.

According to Dr. Sumet Tantivejkul, Chairman of the Thai Rice Foundation, an entry to the Rice Innovation Awards should add value to any form of rice, such as paddy, brown rice, husk, rice bran, or straw. The innovative production process should be related to Thai rice products. If the entry is in the form of food, it should be packaged and have a suitable shelf life. In addition, the entry must not have been awarded before, at the national level.

The winner will receive a cash prize of 50,000 baht and a plaque of honor given by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The second prize includes a cash prize of 30,000 baht, and the third prize 20,000 baht. There are also two complimentary prizes, each consisting of 5,000 baht. The award presentation will take place on October 5, which marks “National Innovation Day.”

October 5 is observed as National Innovation Day in honor of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is recognized as the “Father of Thai Innovation.” It was proposed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which has been entrusted with promoting and supporting efforts to enhance Thailand’s innovation. The Ministry has also been carrying out activities to broaden knowledge about innovations and create a culture of innovation in the country.

The National Innovation Agency expects that the Rice Innovation Awards project will receive at least 60 entries this year.
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