TEMPO.CO, bangkok – 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.
To help build momentum, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched today, May 11, the “Global Action for the Green Development of Specialty Agricultural Products: A Country , a Priority Commodity (OCOP) in Asia and the Pacific”, encourage countries in the region to join the initiative, develop green value chains and promote their special agricultural products internationally.
Some 250 participants from countries in Asia and the Pacific attended the launch event which was held virtually, including ministers of agriculture, senior government officials, technical experts and representatives of development partners, research institutes and the private sector. Specialists from other regions of the world also joined the event.
OCOP was launched globally by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu in September 2021. The launch of this Asia-Pacific regional global action of OCOP aims to develop green and sustainable value chains for specialty agricultural products, while supporting smallholders and family farmers. take full advantage of access to a global market, thus 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, Deputy Director-General of FAO, described the many specialized 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.
The regional OCOP launch event included the participation and presentations of government ministers from 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.
Resource partners from the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, the University of Western Australia, the Agriculture Center of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Grow Asia and the International Trade Center also joined. at launch. All participants highlighted the potential benefits of the Global Action and signaled their commitments to the OCOP initiative.
Government ministers 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 consume.
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.