Berry rice cracker was developed by staff of the “Improve Life Quality” project using the local wisdom of Pong Dang villagers. The project aims to honor Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Mr.Peerawit Chaimala on the occasion of Her 60th birthday. Mr. Peerawit Chaimala, the project manager, stated that berry rice cracker was developed, in Pong Dang Mai Village, Village Number 12, Sai-Khaw Sub-district, Phan District, Chiang Rai Province. Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, Chiang Rai, which is also in Phan District, supported this project. Phan District has a substantial area involved in rice agriculture. Most of the villagers are agriculturists who have low income and are in debt. This is common for farmers and agriculturists in other places, due to low yield and high cost of production. This results in poor quality rice and low profit margins.
Mr. Kanta Kaewkul, head of the village, who participated in a Bank of Agricultural project, received berry rice seed which was from a farm school project of Phra Maha Wuttichai Wacharametee. Under the guidance of Mr. Kanta, the villagers and the students from Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, Chiang Rai planted berry rice seed and subsequently harvested the rice. Using local wisdom the berry rice was then converted into rice crackers.
New innovation that developed by the villagers was to make a mixture of sticky rice and berry rice to make rice crackers which are then dried in the sun (but not over-exposed). The rice cracker is a snack for Northern Thai people. It can also be sold as a souvenir.
Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, Chiang Rai considered Pong Dang Village as the area for the “Improve Life Quality” project from 2013 to 2015 that would strengthen the community.
Rice berry has a high level anti-oxidants such as beta carotene, γ-oryzanol, vitamin E, tannin, zinc. It also has a high level of folate and a low sugar index. The bran particularly has a high anti-oxidant amount which is good for cancer prevention. Berry rice contains (25.51 mg/kg) omega-3 fatty acid which is useful for brain and liver function, and also for reducing cholesterol. The zinc component (31.9 mg/kg) is useful for synthesizing protein, collagen, acne care, and prevention of hair loss. Iron (13-18 mg/kg) helps hemoglobin and enzymes that utilize oxygen. Its fiber helps to decrease cholesterol and heart attack, aids digestion and the excretory system.