Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

10 Apr, 2016

Thailand launches scheme to upgrade rural products to global standards

Bangkok 8 April 2016, Royal Thai Government PR Department – The Government has launched a project to upgrade OTOP products through the use of science, technology, and innovation, in an effort to enhance the image of OTOP as international products.

OTOP stands for “One Tambon (meaning subdistrict) One Product.” It is a local entrepreneurship stimulus program, aimed at building up small enterprises in communities. Under this program, local people have been encouraged to manufacture products using their homegrown skills and expertise. The program also intends to generate more income for the people.

Government Spokesman Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that the Government has a policy to develop the capabilities of OTOP manufacturers in order to boost the grassroots economy and build Thailand’s internal strength.

In the project to upgrade OTOP products, the Government has offered “Science, Technology and Innovation Coupon for OTOP Upgrade,” known in short as “STI Coupon for OTOP Upgrade,” to OTOP producers across the country. Those who seek to obtain this coupon must apply science, technology, and innovation to the development of their OTOP products. Emphasis is placed on the use of local raw materials to generate community employment.

With the coupon, each OTOP entrepreneur will be provided with a fund of between 300,000 and 500,000 baht a year, depending on the type of business, service, or employment.

The project helps develop OTOP products in six areas: product innovation, packaging design, production processing design, standard systems, machinery design, and the quality of raw materials.

Applicants for the STI Coupon for OTOP Upgrade are divided into three groups. The first group, “Start Up,” comprises community enterprises and cooperatives that have registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The second group, “Existing,” consists of OTOP entrepreneurs that have already registered with the Community Development Department, under the Ministry of Interior. The third group, “Growth,” comprises OTOP entrepreneurs that are registered as juristic persons, with registered capital of not over one million baht.

The Government started the STI Coupon for OTOP Upgrade project in January 2016. By 2017, it expects to produce 330 OTOP entrepreneurs, using science, technology, and innovation, and to upgrade 620 OTOP products. Moreover, the project is expected to create 105 OTOP SMEs and 20 exporters by 2017. This will help generate five billion baht in economic value at the grassroots level each year.

The Prime Minister has told the Ministry of Science and Technology to handle this project, linking with other schemes, as well, in order to enable OTOP producers to stand on their own feet.