'One Village One Product' Concept Can Be a Boost to Small, Cottage Industries

Daily Star, Dhaka
February 09, 2004

Star Business Report


Bangladesh can initiate 'one village one product' programme replicating the successful Thai concept that will give a boost to small and cottage industries in rural areas, a Thai embassy official said at the briefing on the Thai fair yesterday.

The One Tanbon (village) One Product or 'OTOP' initiative helps in developing rural expertise on a particular product and boosting Thailand's rural economy by increasing income of people at the grassroots level.

"Bangladesh can take this initiative to reduce rural poverty," Inthorn Wankaeo, minister counsellor of Royal Thai Embassy in Dhaka, told a press briefing on Thai village handicraft and home decor fair that began on Thursday.

The Thai government launched the initiative in 2001 to identify and promote unique products made by village communities as a means of expanding domestic and international trade.

The concept coined by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has created huge enthusiasm among the rural people. Once fully materialised, over 20,000 Thai villages under the programme will be able to offer as many products.

Wankaeo said the Thai government would extend help if Bangladesh takes such an initiative. "It will help strengthen backbone of rural economy by promoting small and cottage industries of rural areas," he said.

"There are immense scope to improve trade ties between Thailand and Bangladesh," he said mentioning that Thai government has so far approved 40 Bangladeshi items for duty free access to Thailand and six more products will be added to the list soon.

Kraitira Kittisriswai, co-chairman of Thai Business Society in Bangladesh, said Thailand takes Bangladesh as gateway to Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) and BIMST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Co-operation) regions.

Thai handicrafts and household products like pottery, woodworks, needleworks, household electrical appliances, jewellery, cosmetics, energy drink, traditional food, fruits and services like medical, health and beauty, massage are available at the fair at the 'Udhyan Thai' in Baridhara diplomatic area.

Thai embassy and Thai Business Society in Bangladesh are jointly organising the 10-day fair that will end on February 14. The fair is open from 9am to 9pm.

A total of 50 companies mainly from northern Thailand are participating in the fair.

At the end of the fair the Thai entrepreneurs will fly to Chittagong to take part in an international trade fair during February 18 to March 17. Thailand has been given the partner country status at the fair.

Thailand was also partner country at the recently concluded Dhaka International Trade Fair where it won the best prize in pavilion category.


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