FAO initiates “One Country – One Priority Product” for Asia and the Pacific

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially launched today the Global Action on Green Development of Special Agricultural Products: “One Country – One Priority Product” to be implemented across the region of Asia and the Pacific.

The virtual meeting received great attention from ministers of agriculture and forestry from Asia and the Pacific, namely Bhutan, Indonesia, Samoa, Solomon Island, Thailand, China and the Lao PDR.

The initiative on “One Country – One Priority Product” (OCOP) has been formulated under the key guiding principles specified under the FAO Strategic Framework for 2022–2031, endorsed by the 42nd Session of FAO Conference in June 2021. This framework focuses on supporting the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, better environment and better life, leaving no one behind.

By promoting inclusive, profitable, and environmentally sustainable food systems through the green production, storage, processing, and marketing, the OCOP will address five major global challenges, including (1) increasing productivity and ensuring healthy diets; (2) reducing food loss and waste, and protecting biodiversity; (3) saving water and optimizing land uses; (4) minimizing agricultural chemical inputs; and (5) mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Thangphat Vongmany acknowledged the potential benefits derived from the OCOP initiative. He stated that “It provides a very useful platform for exploring and sharing our ideas and experiences. Yet, it encourages country ownership, strengthen collaboration and establish sharing of technical expertise among member countries in the region”. “The OCOP will also support practitioners in the countries to access market information, production technology and apply agricultural innovation in their businesses,” he added.

Under the OCOP’s structure, Special Agricultural Products (SAPs) will be introduced. They are agricultural products with unique qualities and special characteristics associated with geographical locations, farming practices and cultural heritages. They are important examples of underutilized resources which have not received the same attention as commonly known agricultural products, but which can significantly contribute to ensuring food security and healthy diets, supporting a sustainable bio-economy and improving farmers’ livelihoods and economic growth, while protecting the environment and biodiversity. SAPs include all kinds of agricultural products, with the potential to become national or local agricultural products, and to be integrated into local, regional, and global markets and trade.

FAO Representative to the Lao PDR Hayat Nasar noted that agricultural production systems play an important role in meeting the rising demands for food, feed, fibre and contribute to various Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities).

Mr. Hayat Nasar also emphasized that FAO strongly believes that with increased cooperation and collaboration among member countries in the region, we can achieve structured and sustainable recovery, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will stand committed in supporting the Member Countries to ensure food security for all.

During the meeting, Lao coffee was proposed to be included in the OCOP initiative. Apart from the geographic characteristics, the coffee has the potential to transform the livelihood of a large number of poor households and the benefits will spin off to other sectors such as health, nutrition and education.

Source: Lao News Agency

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