The Singha Park (Boon Rawd Farm) Social Enterprise
You hardly hear about social enterprise in Malaysia as it is uncommon and probably rare. However, in Thailand social enterprise is a common practice. According to AsiaFoundation.Org, there are more than 120,000 social enterprises in Thailand while there are only 100 social enterprises in Malaysia.
What is a Social Enterprise?
Social Enterprise is organization that has a social cause in their motto in poverty reduction or preserving environment and maximizing social impact than profits.
The perfect example of social enterprise is Singha Park (Boon Rawd Farm) in Chiang Rai. We visited the park last month and recently Singha Group invited us to revisit the park to understand more about their social enterprise.
For your information, Singha Park (Boon Rawd Farm) is a new Agro-Tourism Attraction in Chiang Rai. The park is 8,000 hectares in size and situated 450 metres above sea level and spans over 12.9 kilometres.
It is not just another park as you can find many attractions in Singha Park such as 8km Bike Trail, Singha Park Rock Climbing Tower, Animal Attraction, Singha Park Zipline, Farm Festival on the Hill, Farm Tour and Sports events.
Their social enterprise motive is to reduce poverty among the locals especially the hill tribe community. With the creation of Singha Park, they currently employed more than 1200 locals and hill tribes and the numbers are still growing.
In this trip, we had the opportunity to see some of their new projects in the park as well as meeting new friends from Singha Group as well as a group of Thai bloggers.
Behind the scenes, they are creating new farms by planting new crops. This new farms are experimental farms according to them as they want to see the feasibility in planting new crops in the park. Some of the experimental farms include raspberry, blueberry, tomato and habanero.
We walked thru the experimental farms and it was a great experience especially with the other bloggers. Thus, we get to see and to taste the end product of these experimental farms.
We get to taste the raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, tomato and habanero from the farm. Yes, they are planting habanero!
What is habanero?
Habareno is a type of chili pepper and it is one of the spiciest chillies in the world. The origin of habanero is from South America and it gains its popularity through Mexico. We tasted habanero in a Mexican restaurant in Malaysia many years ago but this is our first time seeing a habanero farm.
The habanero farm in Singha Park is probably the first in the region or even Asia! We never heard of any farm in Asia before.
The magic going on here is they already created the end product with habanero. They created three Habanero sauces and it will be ready for sale under the house brand of Hesco. We tasted the sauce and it really blows us off the roof. It is extremely spicy for us but this is heaven for many spicy lovers out there.
In our opinion, this could be a “secret weapon” for chefs as you just need to use this to increase the level of spiciness in any dish. Chefs no longer needed to go to market and look for hot chili as they can never match the spiciness of habanero.
The habanero sauce can use for dipping, seasoning, creating new sauces and many other ways. This is the proper way of marketing and maximising the “fruits” of the social enterprise.
At the end of the day, we went to see the locals and hill tribe people queuing up logging off. They work six days a week and from 9 am to 5 pm. There were dozens of them at the check out point and what happened here is something that really impressed us.
Instead of using the conventional punch card, they adapted a more advanced technology. To save the environment, they use technology and it is not thumb print but a facial recognition system!
Yes, a facial recognition system in a farm. We are not sure how this machine runs, maybe just snapping a picture of the face or scanning through their face but this method is fast, efficient and innovative.
You can tell the happiness of the locals and hill tribe people from the face. The smile is genuine and this is the real results of the social enterprise.
Social Enterprise here as we experienced is not just for show but a noble project and lifetime commitment. The amount of work for them to create new farms, new products so they can expand and create more employment and reduce poverty totally impressed us.
For us, Singha Park is not just an Agro-Tourism Park but a successful story of social enterprise. Once again, we would like to thank you Singha Group for inviting us to Singha Park to experience the true meaning of social enterprise.
The Singha Park is located at 99 Moo 1, Mae Korn, Amphoe Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai, Thailand 57000.
For more info you can visit their website at http://singhapark.com/ and they are open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. You can spend a whole day here enjoying the activities in the park. This is good for couple, group friends and families. We hope to revisit the park again one day.
Singha Park (Boon Rawd Farm) Address, Contact and GPS Coordinate:
99 Moo 1, Mae Korn, Amphoe Chiang Rai, Chaing Rai, Thailand 57000
Barn House Bicycle Shop 091-890-7394
Singha Park Chiangrai 091-576-0374, 053-172-870
GPS Coordinate: 19.852975, 99.743290