OCOP Program: Driving Force to Elevate Kien Giang's Product Brands

11:47:45 AM | 12/16/2021

With the participation of the whole political system and the efforts of businesses, cooperatives, and people, up to now, the One Commune One Product (OCOP) Program in Kien Giang province has obtained very encouraging results, becoming a far-reaching movement and a driving force for rural development. The province has innovatively and effectively adopted many good models, contributing to enhancing the province's strong products in both quality and quantity. The added value of the product has also been significantly improved, and the local people’s income and quality of life have been increasingly improved.

Encouraging effect

With the determination to bring typical products with local strengths to the OCOP Program, over the past time, Kien Giang province has concretized and effectively implemented many guidelines and policies such as encouraging enterprises to invest in agriculture and rural areas; supporting production and consumption; encouraging investment in agricultural development with high technology application. In the development of OCOP products, relevant levels and sectors have actively called on OCOP product subjects to clearly define the contents in product development, to not develop products rampantly, to not take quantity but focus on quality with typical and strong products. The province has supported economic organizations and business households to implement regulations related to food safety, the process of implementing procedures for registration and announcement of product quality. It has also supported cooperatives, cooperative groups and business households to build safe production models according to VietGAP and organic standards; and deploy the OCOP evaluation criteria to local entities. The close and timely direction and guidance of all levels and sectors have helped localities in the province see their potential and strengths more clearly so that they can proactively deploy appropriate policies and solutions to develop OCOP products, especially the preservation and development of traditional local industries.

As a result, in February 2021, the People's Committee of Kien Giang province issued a decision to recognize 18 products of 11 subjects of the OCOP Program in Kien Giang province in 2020, of which ten products were rated four stars and eight products were rated three stars. In terms of product structure, there were nine products in the food group, five in the handicraft - decoration group, three in the beverage group and one in the herbal group. Specifically, these products included Nang Huong Kim Thien Loc rice, Kim Thien Ngoc red rice of Rach Gia Organic Agricultural Cooperative (four stars); fish sauce with 30 degrees of protein, fish sauce with 40 degrees of protein of Khai Hoan Trading Joint Stock Company in Phu Quoc (four stars); eagle grass pot, bag and basket of Phu My eagle grass co-operative of women in Giang Thanh district (four stars); snakehead fish sauce of Tam Do business household in Ngoc Thuan commune, Giong Rieng district (three stars); and ground black pepper of Ngo Hoang Du business household in Thuan Yen commune, Ha Tien City (three stars). The province's OCOP products meet the needs of consumers and are accepted by the market, thereby contributing to the transformation of production toward the direction of increasing the scale associated with the value chain, raising the income for rural people, especially in remote and mountainous areas and ethnic minority areas.

Following the success, at the end of October, the Provincial OCOP Product Evaluation and Classification Council also held a conference to evaluate and classify products of the OCOP Program in the first Phase in 2021. Accordingly, the whole province had 13 out of 15 districts and cities that organized District-level OCOP Product Evaluation and Classification Councils with 29 participants (9 companies, 6 cooperatives, 14 production and business households). Regarding the products of the participants, there were 40 products in the food industry, 13 handicraft and decorative products, and 6 products in the beverage industry. Through the evaluation of documents, there were 57 out of 59 products that met the requirements and were eligible to participate in the first phase of the OCOP product classification assessment in Kien Giang province in 2021.

In addition to the recognition of products under the OCOP Program, in October 2021, the People's Committee of Kien Giang province also issued the Decision on recognition of typical rural industrial products of Kien Giang province for the sixth time in 2021. Accordingly, the province recognized and granted the certificate of "Typical rural industrial products of Kien Giang province for the sixth time in 2021” with 143 products and sets of products, in which, the handicraft products group had 28 products; the processed agricultural, forestry, fishery and food products group had 99 products; the equipment, machinery, tools and mechanical parts group had 11 products; and the other product group had 5 products.

Strengthening trade promotion

According to Ms. Nguyen Duy Linh Thao, Director of Kien Giang Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Center, with its assigned functions and tasks, over the past time, the Center has supported many business households, cooperatives, enterprises to carry out legal procedures so that typical products, traditional products and goods with local characteristics have collective marks or exclusive marks; supported many famous products and goods of the province with geographical indications, products and goods associated with traditional craft villages, key agricultural and aquatic products at district and provincial levels to be well consumed.

Clearly defining trade promotion as an important step in the OCOP cycle in order to bring products to consumers and make OCOP products the typical brand of each region and locality, the Center has focused on boosting the marketing and trade promotion of key and typical products of the province with a variety of activities, through domestic and international fairs and exhibitions; communication programs, conferences, seminars and forums connecting consumption; organizing survey programs, updating domestic and international market information related to OCOP products; and mobilizing local businesses and cooperatives to participate in displaying and introducing key products of the province at fairs and exhibitions of provinces and cities across the country to expand markets and connect trade. Through promotions, Kien Giang's OCOP products have become very popular with consumers because of their diverse designs and outstanding quality, as well as dedicated support to customers when needed. More importantly, through promotions, it has contributed to creating conditions for OCOP establishments to have the opportunity to promote, introduce, and gradually build brands and raise the value of their products; while helping consumers have the opportunity to access, understand and use quality products. This is also an opportunity for Kien Giang OCOP products to access the domestic market and export to other countries.

When making the overall assessment of the OCOP Program, Ms. Nguyen Duy Linh Thao said that up to now, the program has created a substantial effect, attracting participation and promoting the role of economic actors in the complete upgrading of products according to market demand and restructuring economic organization in the direction of linkage. OCOP products have closely followed the requirements of the OCOP Program, and meet the needs of consumers for unique products, tradition, quality, traceability and geographical indications. These products are accepted by distribution enterprises and the market, thereby contributing to the transformation of production in the direction of increasing scale associated with value chains, improving incomes for rural people, especially in remote areas, border areas, islands and ethnic minority areas. Especially after being evaluated and granted the OCOP product certificate, the producers continue to upgrade technology, improve designs in association with improving product quality so that their star certificates can be upgraded in the near future. The province has also strengthened its support for propaganda, trade promotion, and marketing of OCOP products with a variety of activities; creating motivation for entities to promote production and business development, creating jobs and improving incomes for local workers, contributing to economic development in rural areas; at the same time, creating a positive spillover so that the OCOP Program will continue to be deployed more strongly in the coming time.

Linking the OCOP Program with rural tourism development

On August 13, 2020, Vice Chairman of Kien Giang Provincial People's Committee Lam Minh Thanh signed and issued Plan 118/KH-UBND on the implementation of the OCOP Program Project in 2020 and in the period 2021 - 2025 in the province. The main objective of the Project is to develop high-quality goods with characteristics and advantages of each locality to effectively implement the OCOP Program. It also includes developing forms of production and business organization in the direction of increasing benefits for the community, contributing to rural economic development in the direction of increasing product value and increasing income for people.

According to the plan, in the period 2021-2025, Kien Giang province will evaluate, grant accreditation and develop at least 120 new and existing products (an average of eight products/district and city) with three stars or more, in which there are at least 25 products that meet provincial five-star product standards and strive to have at least 10 products recognized as national-level five-star products. The province will identify 10 - 20 OCOP products of economic organizations to participate in the value chains in localities from the capital of the National Target Program on New Rural Development to develop and commercialize traditional products.

With the specific goal of implementing the OCOP Program in the 2021-2025 period, Kien Giang province will pay special attention to the development and implementation of projects exploiting agricultural strengths (agricultural products, fisheries, handicrafts and decorative products, traditional craft villages) in combination with tourism development of the province. Accordingly, on September 6, 2021, the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee signed and promulgated Decision 2141/QD-UBND approving the Outline of the Project "Development of rural tourism in association with the OCOP program in Kien Giang province in the period 2021-2025, with an orientation to 2030". The research objectives of the Project include: rural tourism and the OCOP Program of Kien Giang province, specifically tourist attractions and community tourism services of businesses, cooperatives, cooperative groups, and individuals, the households that have registered their businesses with the competent authority. The task of the Project is to identify the potential and current situation of rural tourism development in Kien Giang province; identify the potential for rural tourism development in association with the province's OCOP Program; assess the potential for rural tourism development associated with the OCOP Program in Kien Giang province; and propose solutions to develop rural tourism in association with the province's OCOP program.

The rural tourism development project associated with the OCOP Program is implemented with the expectation that it will effectively promote local values ​​in order to exploit the potential of agriculture and tourism in Kien Giang province in a sustainable way, contributing to the successful implementation of the National Target Program on New Rural Development; promoting and improving the quality and value of products of the OCOP Program.

By Cong Luan, Vietnam Business Forum