FAO Director-General showcases OCOP Initiative as powerful catalyst for change

Rome – The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, on Wednesday called on Members and all other stakeholders to provide financial, technical and human resources to support the implementation of FAO’s One Country One Priority Product (OCOP) Initiative, which can make a real impact to transform agrifood systems.

Qu addressed an event on the OCOP Initiative, under the Framework of the FAO China South-South Cooperation Programme. The event took place in hybrid form on the sidelines of the 174th Session of the FAO Council. Speakers included Malawi’s Minister for Agriculture, Sam Kawale, as well as government officials and Permanent Representatives from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago and Uzbekistan.

The OCOP was launched in September 2021. It is designed to support more sustainable agrifood value chains of Special Agricultural Products (SAPs), increase access to healthy diets, improve farmers’ livelihoods and economic growth, while minimizing the use of chemical inputs and of natural resources, reducing food loss and waste, as well as minimizing negative impacts on the environment.

SAPs have unique unique economic value, geographical advantages, specific farming practices and cultural heritages. Examples of SAPs already supported by the initiative include jackfruit in Bangladesh, date palm in Egypt, banana in Malawi, cocoa in Trinidad and Tobago, and sweet cherry in Uzbekistan.

As of November, 83 countries across all five FAO regions had expressed interest in promoting the sustainable development of over 50 SAPs, and all of which are potential OCOP project countries.

During Wednesday’s event, the global South-South Cooperation project was formally announced to support the implementation of the OCOP initiative. Selected countries shared their experiences in implementing the initiative, while FAO Members were briefed on the initiative’s progress and the way forward.  Members and relevant stakeholders were called to actively support, participate and promote its implementation.

To date, more than $14 million from various sources have been mobilized to support the implementation of the OCOP initiative in 53 countries.

As the largest single contribution to the OCOP initiative, China has provided $5 million to support this new global OCOP project under the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme supporting capacity-development and demonstration activities in 15 countries. These are Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi and Tanzania in Africa; Bangladesh, Cambodia and Samoa in Asia and the Pacific; Georgia and Uzbekistan in Europe and Central Asia; Chile, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago in Latin America and the Caribbean; and Egypt and Iraq in the Near East and North Africa.

Innovative solutions in the global South are key for tackling food insecurity, poverty and other development challenges. South-South and Triangular Cooperation has become an integral part of FAO’s support to country-level action to achieve food security and nutrition, and rural development, by creating synergies with related initiatives.

The OCOP initiative is a powerful catalyst for transformation and for accelerating progress in the implementation of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31, in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Source : Fao