28 May 2015
The Government is striving to expand markets for Thai community products, under the "One Tambon One Product,” or "OTOP,” program.
Deputy Interior Minister Suthee Markboon stated that the Ministry of Interior, through the Community Development Department, has continued to develop the quality and potential of OTOP products, which would have a larger market in the ASEAN region.
Mr. Suthee presided over the opening of the OTOP Midyear 2015 Fair, being held at the Exhibition Halls 3-8, IMPACT Trade and Exhibition Center, Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi province, from 25 to 31 May 2015.
In the opening ceremony, he explained that the Government has a policy to promote the OTOP program in order to strengthen the local economy, thus contributing to the overall Thai economy. In 2015, the Ministry of Interior has set a target for earnings from OTOP products to reach 100 billion baht.
The OTOP program aims to build up small enterprises in communities by encouraging the people to manufacture local products using their homegrown skills and expertise. It is a way of stimulating human creativity and innovation at the grassroots level, as well as generating more income for local people. The Government offers assistance and advice in terms of modern technology, marketing, and management techniques. The assistance will make their products attractive to both domestic and international markets. It will also enable villagers to produce their goods to meet higher standards.
The OTOP Midyear 2015 Fair comprises more than 1,500 booths, with OTOP products from the four regions of the country. There is a food bazaar comprising 120 booths. Apart from an exhibition and demonstrations of OTOP making, the fair also features halal OTOP products from the southern border provinces. The fair also includes several cultural performances.
Apart from marketing channels, OTOP operators also want the Government to provide them with greater access to funding sources. At the OTOP Midyear 2015 Fair, a special zone is arranged to provide financial counseling services for OTOP operators by leading financial institutions, such as the Government Savings Bank and SME Bank.
The ASEAN Community, which will become a market of 600 million people, will be in place in late 2015. OTOP operators will have greater opportunities to expand their products into other ASEAN markets.
The OTOP initiative has provided employment and generated income in respective localities, while helping communities reduce out-migration in search of jobs elsewhere. At the same time, it will ensure that wealth circulates within the communities, thereby increasing the purchasing power in rural areas.