Poster in Apr 29, 2024 23:36:53

FAO’s One Country One Priority Product initiative celebrates milestones and aims for scaled implementation

FAO’s One Country One Priority Product initiative celebrates milestones and aims for scaled implementation

85 FAO member countries have officially expressed interest in promoting the sustainable development of the value chains of 54 Special Agricultural Products

Rome, 26/04/2024– The second meeting for the Steering Committee of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on the implementation of the One Country One Priority Product (OCOP) initiative held today, took stock of the major results achieved, discussed current priorities and next steps.

To date, 85 Members from all five FAO Regions – Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Near East and North Africa – have expressed strong interest in promoting the sustainable development of the value chains of 54 Special Agricultural Products (SAPs), including 28 horticultural and 15 field crops, 6 livestock products and 5 forest products.

In his opening remarks, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, as Chair of the Steering Committee, expressed gratitude for the tangible results achieved and retraced the initiative's core principles, emphasizing that “one of the most important features of OCOP is that it is tailored to each specific country, it is not a one-size fits all approach”.

The meeting was moderated by FAO Deputy Director-General Beth Bechdol and attended by SC members and relevant observers. The keynote speakers, include, among others, H.E. Anila Denaj, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development of the Republic of Albania; Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa; and Hafiz Muminjanov, FAO technical adviser in the Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) and the Global Coordinator of OCOP Secretariat.  Moreover, the OCOP stakeholders, including Chuang Liu, Professor at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China, Professor Pathmanathan Umaharan at Cocoa Research Centre of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, and Mr Khaled El-Haggan, Date Palm Farm Manager in Egypt, shared their perspectives – from research, academia, and the private sector – on the implementation of OCOP.

Further, the discussion on the strengthening of the synergies between OCOP and other FAO initiatives, resource mobilization, advocacy, and communication was facilitated by Yurdi Yasmi, Special Coordinator, FAO.

Launched in September 2021, the initiative helps countries tap into the unlocked potential of identified Special Agricultural Products (SAPs), which are locally known and underutilized agrifood products that have the potential to be launched in more stable regional and international markets. By promoting sustainable production and marketing of SAPs, the initiative aims to foster better access to healthy diets, contribute to the livelihoods of small-scale and family farmers, and reduce environmental and social impacts, in line with FAO's Strategic Framework 2022-31.

Through this initiative, FAO provides a range of tailored support to countries, including OCOP training, workshops, and enhanced collaboration between national governments, technical experts, the private sector, farmers, development and resource partners, and other key stakeholders.

Highlights of the targets achieved

As part of the first demonstration phase, five countries were identified to lead the implementation of OCOP with country-level activities funded by FAO's Flexible Voluntary Contribution (FVC) – in Bangladesh, Egypt, Malawi, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uzbekistan, to promote jackfruit, date palm, banana, cocoa, and sweet cherry, respectively. Since May 2023, all five demonstration countries have established National Task Forces and have made progress in the implementation of OCOP.

To date, a total of 16 demonstration countries have been supported to guide and facilitate the OCOP implementation in other countries. Contributions totaling about USD 18 million from various sources have been mobilized since 2021 to support the implementation of the OCOP initiative in 60 countries.

Priorities on the way forward

Looking ahead the FAO Director-General outlined four key priorities to improve implementation of the initiative and accelerate progress.

First, increasing the visibility and impact of OCOP, with effective communication and outreach at global, regional, national, and farmer community levels. Second, the a need to continue to mobilize resources so that all 85 countries that have expressed interest can take part in the initiative. Third, the importance of promoting large-scale implementation through the 16 demonstration countries identified so far. Fourth and last, strengthen synergies among the already existing FAO flagship initiatives, including Hand-in-Hand, the Digital Villages, and the Green Cities Initiatives, designed to be complementary.

Today’s Steering Committee meeting also outlined several future actions. This included strengthening financial, technical, and human resources at the global, regional, and country levels; engaging a wide range of stakeholders to support activities at the country and field levels; and monitoring and facilitating OCOP projects.

Source: Online/GFMM

Comment Now

Latest Publication