OCOP Revives Lai Chau Agriculture

7:54:17 AM | 8/9/2023

Agriculture is always defined by Lai Chau province as the key to economic and social development. Currently, the province is focusing on building and developing One Commune One Product (OCOP) products to unlock local potential advantages and boost local sustainable economic development.

Lai Chau is bestowed with invaluable nature such as a fresh and cool climate with three distinct climate zones and a spectacular natural landscape. The province is the country’s 10th largest by area in the country, with more than 526,000 hectares of agricultural soil, accounting for 58% of its natural area. With soil and climate advantages, Lai Chau has actively developed concentrated commercial farming areas for key crops like tea (over 9,000 hectares), macadamia (over 5,600 hectares) and fruit (over 8,200 hectares). Tea is an OCOP product. The province picks 44,000 tons of fresh tea and produces 10,000 tons of processed tea annually. Its tea has been exported to many markets such as the Middle East, South Asia, and Taiwan.

While developing perennial crop areas, Lai Chau has also actively built concentrated rice fields in Than Uyen, Tan Uyen and Tam Duong districts to grow locally special rice varieties like Seng Cu, Te Rau, Nep Tan and Khau Ky. At present, many Lai Chau-trademarked products are protected by the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) such as “Tam Duong Tea”, “Than Uyen Tea” and “Seng Cu Tea.”

The One Commune One Product (OCOP) Program was launched in the province in 2019 under Decision 836/QD-UBND dated July 31, 2019 of the Lai Chau Provincial People’s Committee. After four years, Lai Chau province has built brand names for premium agricultural products that carry locally distinctive characteristics and advantages. This has helped the province open up opportunities for cooperation in building production chains to bring agricultural products to the market and fostering sustainable agricultural and rural development. Right from early days, the OCOP Program in Lai Chau engaged the whole political system, motivated and influenced the business community, cooperatives and business households. At present, the province has a total of 158 OCOP products certified three-star or higher class: 147 three-star products and 11 four-star products. Oolong Tea and Dong Phuong My Nhan Tea - both four-star products - of Tam Duong Tea Development Investment Joint Stock Company were submitted to the Central OCOP Rating and Evaluation Council for upgrading to a five-star class. Lai Chau’s certified OCOP products include tea, pork, beef, wine, rice, honey, vermicelli and seasonal fruits.

The OCOP Program plays an active role in rural economic development. Participating producers have clearly understood Program benefits and upgraded their products to meet market requirements, facilitate economic restructuring and raise incomes and living standards for local people. The program has been strongly responded by producers. Certified OCOP products have better quality, designing, packaging, labeling and product traceability.

In 2021-2025, Lai Chau province will develop more OCOP products to unlock potential advantages in rural areas to increase people’s incomes. The province will continue restructuring the agricultural sector alongside developing handicrafts, trades, services and rural tourism. It will promote sustainable rural economic development by accelerating digital transformation and circular economy, preserving cultural values, managing resources, conserving biodiversity, landscapes and rural environment. When joining the OCOP Program, many local agricultural products have been branded and widely marketed. Tam Duong Tea Development Investment Joint Stock Company produces four-star OCOP Oolong, Matcha and Kim Tuyen tea products that are exported to Taiwan, Japan, EU, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other markets.

Together with OCOP product development, Lai Chau province has focused on quality improvement, trade promotion and branding of agricultural products. To promote trade and connect OCOP products with consumers, the provincial government actively directed relevant bodies and communication firms to support and guide local companies and cooperatives to promote, connect and sell their products on e-commerce platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Zalo, Alibaba.com, Amazon.com, Sendo.vn, Voso.vn, Tiki.vn and Lazada.vn. The province has also supported businesses to seek market information, customers and sales contracts for OCOP products and other local products. This helps stimulate the demand for local agricultural products. Arguably, OCOP products are helping Lai Chau’s agricultural products go farther on the market.

By Thanh Nga, Vietnam Business Forum