One Country One Priority Product (OCOP)


Innovative tools to boost undervalued nutritious foods across Asia-Pacific

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding - FAO and Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Science.

©FAO/Hasan Lokuge


19/02/2024 Colombo, Sri Lanka: FAO and China’s oldest land and environmental research institute signed an agreement today to harness an innovative geographical and environmental traceability tool that will link consumers and growers of special agricultural products (SAPs) to promote their unique qualities and cultural importance.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGSNRR-CAS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on the sidelines of the 37th FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific. The agreement will leverage the innovative Geographical Indications, Environment & Sustainability (GIES) methodology developed by IGSNRR-CAS to “energize implementation” of the FAO flagship One Country One Priority Product (OCOP) initiative in the Asia and Pacific region.

The global, country-led OCOP initiative is helping develop sustainable value chains for SAPs which are crops having unique qualities linked to specific locales, farming practices and cultural heritages. SAPs have special tastes and high nutritional value but are yet to be grown and marketed to reach their potential. The MoU will build capacities on application of GIES to SAP development, provide free technology transfer and will offer real time data on the geographical and environmental parameters of SAP production. This will help transform agrifood systems to be more resilient, sustainable, inclusive and efficient in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“At FAO we believe that science, technology and innovation are central to transforming agrifood systems. So today’s signing expresses our continued commitment to leveraging science and innovation. This agreement between FAO and IGSNRR-CAS will benefit not only the countries where we are working in, but farmers themselves,” said FAO Deputy Director-General, Beth Bechdol, welcoming participants to the signature ceremony.

The agreement “will benefit not only the countries we are working in …but most importantly, it will benefit farmers themselves,” she added. Noting that the institute has already been supporting the OCOP initiative, Ms Bechdol said the Institute “will add value to the special agricultural products by establishing both geographical and environmental traceability”.

“This MoU will be a new milestone for FAO and our institute,” said Shenglin Wang, Deputy Director-General and Office-in-Charge, IGSNRR-CAS and a co-signatory of the MoU with Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

Wang asserted IGSNRR-CAS commitment to working with FAO on leveraging GIES for OCOP implementation and said the Institute will move “from commitment to action with technology transfer and knowledge sharing”.

In his remarks, Kim noted that the signing of the MoU marked “a very important milestone” in OCOP implementation in the region. “We are coming together as partners together to support our Member states.”

Tracing geographical origins of SAPs

The GIES methodology, pioneered by IGSSNRR, uses open science technology to trace the geographical origin of a specific special agricultural product by assessing and monitoring the quality of the local environment where the product grows. It connects the specific SAP, the local productive environment, the local SAP producer groups, and consumers with open data access. The Institute has made great progress in realizing the positive socioeconomic potential of several special agricultural products in China while ensuring production is environmentally sustainable.

OCOP increasingly popular in Asia and the Pacific

Twenty-two countries in the region have joined the OCOP initiative and nominated 20 SAPs for developing sustainable value chains to promote food security and nutrition, the effective use of unutilized resources, farmers’ livelihoods and economic growth while protecting the environment and biodiversity.

In the Asia-Pacific region, OCOP implementation is following a dual-track strategy of country-level projects and regional knowledge sharing that has FAO working with partners to coordinate sharing of knowledge, practices and experience of OCOP implantation at country and regional levels.

The Institute is one of the four core members of the Regional Organizing Group set up by FAO to coordinate OCOP implementation in the region and support the Global OCOP Steering Committee at FAO headquarters as well as country-level National OCOP Task Forces.