The Halal Science Centre Chulalongkorn University (Chiang Mai) has received a 14.5 million baht budget to help support smart farming in the north, with hopes of reaching out into the massive 560 million dollar global Halal cosmetics market.
With all animal and plant products having to pass the Halal certification process, the centre has spent the past several months training farmers in smart farm technology, providing equipment to participating entrepreneurs as well as working with small businesses to develop products aimed at the massive international Halal markets.
To date there are seven main innovations being developed which are promising to yield lucrative results for the north’s farmers. The first is the identification of indigenous plants which are then developed into high quality plant colours to be used in cosmetics, the second is adding value to low-profit agricultural products such as rice and pineapple, using plant probiotics processes to be used as skin care ingredients; third is utilising the extraction and encapsulation processes to create polyphenol micronutrients used in quality products for scalp and hair; next is to use microwave extraction to capture the aromas of products; the Halal plant food colouring is also being developed for industrial use by undergoing the encapsulation of colorants; sixth is the centre’s development of the Quranic energy bar which only uses plants mentioned in the Quran; and lastly, the centre in an effort to combat the widespread and dangerous use of plastic in daily life, will begin to provide products which can be used in any refilling station. To date a jasmine gelatins evaporate, a lemongrass shower gel, a turmeric evaporating shower gel and a rosemary evaporating shampoo have been developed.
As a result of these innovations, there are also five prototype products under development which the centre is hoping will soon be able to be launched into the marketplace. All of these products are now nearly ready with packaging, branding and multiple testings. They include the butternut squash flour for gluten free consumers; Hydrosol drinking water infused with plant extracts which can be consumed as a drink or developed into multiple food, skin and cosmetic products; extra booster of Thai herbal and plant products which are now turned into high quality, nutrient-filled and moistening skincare products which will be greatly appreciated in the Middle Eastern markets; Suriwan series of hand creams using a wide variety of natural plant products; and lastly, the hemp protein bar which is high in energy and great for the digestion.
Ten commercial products have also been successfully developed and can now be found in the local as well as international markets. These include a very tasty snack of dried anchan flowers which come in both salty and tom yum flavours. The wagging beef tallow Thai basil infusion is another fascinating product which uses Halal certified beef oil, infusing it with Thai basil, for a wonderful blend perfect for cooking. There is already an acclaimed nail serum using jasmine rice extract which is proven to be very good for nails as they are infused with antioxidant as well as vitamins C and E. A shower gel mint is also now on the market, a simple, but beautifully aromatic extract which has undergone the steam distillation process, retaining all of its good nutrients. Hemp oil is also something the centre is working hard to promote as this legal product is still misunderstood, but yet has high properties from stem to leaf which have been turned into high grade oils which can be applied to multiple food and cosmetic products. An innovative process has seen the development of an aromatic jasmine tea, perfect for soothing and calming. There are other teas which have also been developed through this same process – ginger, lemongrass, English breakfast, peppermint, Oolong and Darjeeling. And lastly, naturally dried bananas and sun-dried bananas which retain their moisture and flavours have also been developed.
While some of these products may already been on the market, what the Halal Science Centre is doing is working along side farmers, offering them the best of academic advice and research tools as well as innovative and modern equipments, so that they can develop products efficiently, cost effectively and targeted to the Halal consumer needs. The centre then helps to develop branding, packaging and marketing, directly connecting farmers not just to the resources needed to add value to their current products, but to the international Halal marketplace.
To find out more about this great project read here.
Any farmers or members of the public who have further interest in the Halal Science Institute Chulalongkorn University (Chiang Mai)’s smart farm initiative, please contact: