As one of the main actions for improving both Thailand and the university, Assistant Professor Dr. Sommai Pivsa-Art, President of Rajamangala University of Technology (RMUTT) revealed that Thailand’s food and agriculture strategies and policies as part of Strategic Framework for Food Management have been geared up to transform Thailand into world’s food production hub or Thailand kitchen of the world. RMUTT has carried out its agricultural SME cluster with the financial assistance from OSMEP to help local community improve agricultural technology in order to increase the efficiency of agricultural production and add its substantial income.
“Organic Vegetable Dewatering Machine” as one of the agricultural innovations is developed for those who are organic vegetable lovers with health conscious. Due to the high demand of existing markets in vegetable consumption, a number of farmers who grow organic vegetables are more likely to increase. From just small-scale farmers, they have turned themselves into becoming entrepreneurs they need as part of community enterprise. Assistant Professor Dr. Mano Suwannakam, Director of Divisions and Project Leader, revealed that the Kalasin Organic Agricultural Technology cluster is made of a farm group located in Kalasin province of Thailand who aims to bring technical expertise to help the farm group to link to supermarket chains and export markets. Thus, “Organic Vegetable Dewatering Machine” was produced with aim of assisting agriculturers who needed to clean, cut, and dewater vegetables by themselves in order to preserve vegetables’ quality and extend their shelf-life. Additionally, most types of vegetables possess difficult – to – clean parts and in those parts, water may be even harder to be dried out. For industrial use, without any assistance of the machine, workers may not be able to dewater vegetables single handedly resulting in vegetable transportation delays, vegetables lose their nutrients in case of exposure to hot temperature, and shorter shelf-life. However, even if there are big-scale vegetable dewatering machines with belts and dry blowers available in the market, farmers or community enterprises will not be able to afford them. For this reason, Assistant Professor Dr. Kiattisak Sangpradit had developed a small-sized, easy to maintain “Organic Vegetable Dewatering Machine”. He further explained that the machine features the adoption of centrifugal approach, through motor-controlled rotating barrel (located at lower part of the machine) to dewater the surface water of washed products taking only 1 to 2 minutes to complete the dewatering process. The machine itself was made of stainless steel with 130 cm in height and 90 cm x 90 cm in width. Concerning its instruction manual, vegetable harvesters need to select, clean and cut vegetables in favorable sizes before putting them in 1 kg basket. Three fully-filled baskets will later be prepared and locked well inside the machine. The motor at lower part of the machine will be turned on to rotate barrel to dewater the surface water of washed products without causing vegetables any damage until done. The agriculturers will then packed the waterless vegetables in the package without exposure to extreme heat, affecting nutrients and minerals of vegetables and somehow saving money on labor and extending their shelf-life.
Assistant Professor Dr. Kiattisak Sangpradit also added that practical assessment of product quantities, quality, and prices along the value chain should be maintained sustainably making buyers feel satisfied with the products and yet creating balance in value chain including producers, processors, buyers and consumers. Hopefully, we could get all the experts in the field to help improve production process and harvesting process for the agriculturers and processing process for SMEs