|ต้นนุ่นเป็นไม้โตเร็ว ให้ร่มเงาสูง ปลูกง่าย ไม่ต้องใช้สารเคมีใดๆในการปลูก ระยะเวลาในการให้ผลตอบแทนเร็ว และดีทุกปี ที่สำคัญเป็นไม้ที่มีรากลงลึกในดิน สามารถปลูกเพื่อกันดินถล่ม หรือกันตลิ่งพังได้|
|ที่น่าสนใจที่สุดคือ “ดอกนุ่น” ซึ่งมีรสหวานในตัวเอง โดยในขณะนี้คุณวิญญูกำลังวางแผนจับมือกับกลุ่มผู้เลี้ยงผึ้งในจังหวัดชัยภูมิ เพื่อพัฒนา “พื้นที่ปลูกนุ่น” ให้เป็น “พื้นที่เพาะเลี้ยงผึ้ง” แบบผสมผสานไปด้วยในฤดูที่นุ่นออกดอก|
Did you know Thailand was once a leading exporter of Kapok fiber in the world? Did you have any idea that Thai Kapok was widely acclaimed as “the best quality Kapok”? Thailand was soon knocked out of the prestigious title by Indonesia. Why?
The major blame is absolutely not about the deteriorating quality of Thai kapok but “the thoughtless action of some entrepreneurs,” whose greedy minds won over their conscience to have it adulterated with other fibers such as cotton fiber, pieces of cloth, old kapok or even soft foam to gain more weight. No wonder why Thailand was left with a slim chance for her Kapok export to any market in the world though, ironically, the country is located in tropical rain forest, which is “the most suiable location on earth” to grow a Kapok!
TCDCCONNECT and Material ConneXion took a trip to Potaram, Ratchaburi province last June to meet Khun Winyoo Waranyoo, the second generation of the producer of “Jarupan Kapok mattress,” Ratchaburi’s signature products back in the old days.
According to Khun Winyoo, Kapok mattress and its product lines are no longer popular due to negative perception of Thai Kapok fiber of “hazardous to health” “short lifespan” “lots of adulterated substance,” not to mention that polyester fiber (synthetic fiber being developed as Kapok substitute) launched several proactive marketing strategies for more market share. These factors caused Thai “contemporary consumer market” to “forget” and “ignore” the actual value of Kapok…almost completely.
Kapok’s real qualification and capability
Material ConneXion Bangkok sent Khun Winyoo a request for Kapok sample to register as Thailand’s natural fiber in 2011. Jarupan’s Kapok fiber is now certified from Material ConneXion, Inc. (registered as natural material MC#: 6805-01) of the following material quality:
· 5 times lighter than cotton fiber
? Environmental friendly
? Do not cause allergy, odorless
? Buoyant, an upward buoyant force is 30 times greater than material’s actual weight (approximately 5 times of the buoyant force exerted on a cork underwater
? Thermal insulation
? Oil absorbent
The research result reflected that Thailand’s “Kapok fiber” had high economic capability. Through design and development process, it may expand its product lines into pillow, mattress, sleeping bag, coat, life jacket, etc.
New Kapok industrial development
Khun Winyoo planned to reshuffle his Kapok fiber business and restart right from the very beginning through the end, from Kapok plantation, fiber production and new product development from the harvested fibers.
Khun Winyoo’s investment plan was to set up his new Kapok plantation by the old factory (torn down after the fall of Kapok business). He planned to establish the fiber factory in the very same area (under the Kapok tree shade). Moreover, he also started research and development project to seek Kapok of distinguished quality and share the seedling to the famers (farmers’ network in neighboring area). His strong standpoint was to buy back the produce by reasonable rate. The project has distributed the seedling to the famers since 2011.
According to Khun Winyoo, Kapok tree is suitable to grow along with other plants (previously grown by the farmers) conforming “Agroforestry Farming” idea, which takes “natural forest system’s” sustainability as core concept for their agricultural approach.
Furthermore, every single part of “a Kapok seed” can be used from “Kapok fiber” as fiber material for various products, “Kapk seed” as food for livestock or natural oil, “core” as mushroom station and even “the skin” for compost.
Natural Kapok and future opportunity
As Kapok’s original qualification of 100% natural product, germ-free, dust mite-free, mildew-free, non-water absorbent, non-heat absorbent, light weight, etc., Khun Winyoo felt that the current challenge for him (and Ratchaburi residents) lies upon the development process of transforming “100% kapok” locally grown in the area into new products i.e. furniture (both for indoor and outdoor use), garment (coat, trekking attire) or an ingredient for organic products.
Conviincingly, Khun Winyoo and the brand Jarupan will be completely prepared as material producer in the near future. What is lack is creative support in terms of design, marketing and product development for “a new lifestyle.” The quest for their perfect match is ongoing…but absolutely not for too long, “a contemporary Kapok product by Thai producer” will be unfolded. For more information about agroforestry, please visit Sustainable Agricultural Foundation – Agroforestry.