OTOP Plus: A New Project to Boost Thai Community Products in International Market (11/09/2012)
The Government has launched a new project “OTOP Plus” to upgrade the standards of Thai community products under the “One Tambon One Product,” or OTOP, program.

The project aims to boost OTOP products in the international market, add value to community products, and promote the identity of Thai products, especially in the ASEAN region.

Several public and private organizations recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to carry out jointly the OTOP Plus project. They include the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, the Ministry of Industry, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade of Thailand, and MCOT Public Company.

Under the project, at least 200 OTOP products will be selected by the Ministry of Interior and provincial governors across the country. Educational institutions will help develop these products into better quality, linking with local wisdom, innovation, and the use of modern technology.

Various activities will also be introduced to provide greater opportunities for OTOP entrepreneurs to have access to more market channels, both domestically and internationally. Online marketing will be launched, as well, to publicize and expand the distribution of OTOP goods.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that the Government attached great importance to continuous development of OTOP products to generate sustainable income for people in various communities. Apart from creating jobs for local residents, the OTOP program would also encourage the people to manufacture local products using their homegrown skills and expertise.

The Prime Minister said that she wanted to see more one-stop service centers for OTOP goods to boost the sales of Thai community products more extensively.

The OTOP program was launched in 2001 as a self-help mechanism for each and every community, with emphasis on rural areas, to draw upon local knowledge and ingenuity. It is based on the self-reliance and creativity principle, which seeks to develop local products, taking into consideration the revival of local culture and traditions, thus bringing out the uniqueness of each village. The OTOP initiative has generated employment and income in the respective localities, helping communities reduce emigration in search of jobs elsewhere.

The Thai government has a policy to add value to OTOP products and make them better known in the international market. It believes that OTOP products will have good potential for expansion in the ASEAN market, which will become a single community in 2015.

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