Asia-Pacific countries will showcase their best agricultural products

Countries in Asia and the Pacific are joining an initiative to promote and showcase the “best of the best” of their specialty agricultural products – an initiative designed to ensure a high level of participation from smallholders to growers to exporters and others along the value chain

Participation in OCOP is seen as a great opportunity for all countries in the region to improve rural conditions through agricultural progress. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

To help build momentum, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today launched the ‘Global Action for Green Development of Special Agricultural Commodities: One Country, One Priority Commodity (OCOP) in Asia and the Pacificcampaign, encouraging countries in the region to join the initiative, developing green value chains and promoting their special agricultural products internationally.

Nearly 250 participants from countries in Asia and the Pacific attended the virtual launch, including ministries of agriculture, senior government officials, technical experts and representatives of development partners, research institutions and the private sector. . Specialists from other regions of the world also joined the event.

OCOP was launched globally by the FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, in September 2021. The launch of this OCOP Asia-Pacific Regional Global Action aims to develop green and sustainable value chains for specialty agricultural products, while helping smallholders and family farmers to take full advantage of access to a global market, ultimately contributing to the transformation of current agri-food systems. The ultimate goal is to achieve better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

In an opening speech, Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director General, described the many specialty agricultural products the region has to offer the world. “The Asia-Pacific region is special, home to over 50% of the world’s population, where agricultural development and rural livelihoods are a top priority – a region with a long and rich history of agricultural development,” he said. she said, adding that participation in OCOP has been a great opportunity for all countries in the region.

High-level participation

The regional OCOP launch event included the participation and presentations of Ministers from the Government of China, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Samoa and Thailand. Ministerial-level interventions were also made on behalf of their governments by participants from Bhutan and the Solomon Islands.

Participants from Asia and the Pacific praised the special agricultural products that their countries and subregions can offer the world – products that go far beyond the staple foods that most people eat.

Examples given were vegetables and herbs that have multiple values ​​and uses such as cooking, traditional medicines, dietary supplements and those that can help conserve biodiversity and support farming communities. There has also been talk of a greater emphasis on export through horticulture and cash crops, as well as the promotion of quinoa, a highly nutritious food.

Participants also noted that by taking advantage of the OCOP, it would be possible to have better access to inputs such as improved varieties; investing in climate-smart technologies, land management, agricultural mechanization and, equally important, market access and trade facilitation.

Amalia H. Mercado