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OCOP - A Boost for Rural Economy

The One Commune One Product (OCOP) Program has been carried out with given criteria of new countryside, especially livelihood improvement criteria. Thus, the goal of having at least 50% of communes recognized as new rural communes is to be completed in 2019 instead of 2020 as scheduled.



The OCOP Program aims to develop commercial agricultural, non-agricultural products and services of proven local advantages along the value chain where the private economic sector and the cooperative economy are key actors. By encouraging product development, both from innovative ideas and from practical needs and capabilities of each producer, the program creates a playground for cooperatives and small and medium-sized businesses and inspires entrepreneurship of rural enterprises and people.

New motivation 

The OCOP Program appeared in Vietnam not long ago, starting from Quang Ninh province in 2013 and then spreading to some other provinces and cities. By 2018, OCOP officially became a national target program with consistent guidance from central to local levels.

The goal of OCOP Vietnam is to develop business organizations, with the core being cooperatives and small and medium-sized businesses closely linked to agricultural restructuring, cottage industry development, traditional product creation based on local resources, identity and creativity of people in order to increase domestic value and competitiveness and take part in foreign export value chains for Vietnamese rural products.

At the recent “Global OCOP Network Connection Forum”, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue emphasized that OCOP is an economic program with profound social and human values ​​aimed to develop livelihood, life and employment for farmers, contribute to sustainable poverty reduction and promote and preserve local cultural identities. Therefore, after less than one year of deploying the program at the national level, all provinces and cities have developed their OCOP projects. Among them, 42 provinces and cities have approved of provincial deployment and four have prepared for announcing OCOP product and quality standards.

Boosted by the OCOP Program, rural cooperatives rapidly increased in number. Notably, agricultural and rural innovative startups have been sped up. Many nice-looking high-quality products from the OCOP Program are not only consumed locally but also distributed in foreign supermarket chains and on international flights, helping significantly raise the value of agricultural production and the rural economy, and lift Vietnam's agricultural exports to US$45 billion in 2019.

Learning from international experience 

From the successful experience of regional countries in One Village One Product (OVOP) movement, successfully implemented in Japan in 1979, when drafting and deploying national economic development strategies in general and rural socioeconomic development plans in particular to increase endogenous, intrinsic values, the movement focuses on available local resources (land, resources, geographical conditions, technology, pride, creativity, culture and other factors) as a driving force of development. The OVOP movement has currently spread to more than 40 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and contributed positively to socioeconomic development. Typically, the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) Program in Thailand, after more than 10 years of deployment (from 2001 - 2012), created more than 72,000 rural products and services nationwide.

In 2013, the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee approved and implemented the OCOP Program, making Quang Ninh the first province of the country to launch this program in a methodical and systematic way, from the guidance apparatus to execution apparatus. This is a right, creative direction of Quang Ninh province in developing commercial products, linking producers with products, promoting local advantages and strengths, enabling farmers to actively integrate and access market economy, and contributing to improving the quality of its National Target Program for New Countryside Construction Program.

Mr. Tran Thanh Nam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that learning from international experiences, especially from Japan and Thailand, and outcomes in Quang Ninh province, in May 2018, the Prime Minister signed a decision approving the OCOP Program, which was set to be deployed nationwide. After the Prime Minister assigned the task, 18 provinces have to date ratified projects and plans for the program and 16 localities adopted the outline. These localities target at 1,570 OCOP-certified products by 2020.

The OCOP Program gives priority to developing cooperatives and small and medium-sized businesses to make traditional products and services which utilize local advantages, meet official standards and capably compete with rivals on domestic and international markets, to develop the rural economy by increasing internal resources and values. Thus, this facilitates economic restructuring, increases income and livelihoods for people and effectively carries out “Economic and producer” criteria in the National Set of New Countryside Criteria.
 
By 2020, the Program aims to standardize at least 50% of existing products, or 2,400 products; consolidate and perfect the production pattern by linking household producers with cooperatives and enterprises; carry out 8 - 10 tourist cultural village models; consolidate 100% of enterprises and cooperatives joining the OCOP Program; develop about 500 small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives for the OCOP Program; and promote trade promotion and branding programs for OCOP-branded products. 

 

Minh Ngoc (Vietnam Business Forum)