One Country One Priority Product (OCOP)

  • The FAO Global Action on One Country One Priority Product (OCOP) has four main objectives:
  1. facilitate the development of sustainable and inclusive value chains of agricultural products, in particular for family farming and smallholder farmers;
  2. support Members through the implementation of the Country Programming Frameworks (CPF);
  3. strengthen the implementation of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031, especially the Four Betters (Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life); and
  4. contribute to achieving the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequality).
  • The ultimate goal of the OCOP is to support the transition to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems. OCOP is not an initiative that promotes monoculture production but focuses on diversification, unlocking untapped potential of agricultural products, and identifying and addressing gaps in the value chain.

  • The OCOP initiative was officially launched in September 2021. It was endorsed in October 2021 by a Steering Committee chaired by the FAO Director-General, and including the FAO core leadership as well as the Assistant Director-Generals of the five FAO Regions (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East and North Africa).

  • Agrifood systems are fragile, and our supply chains are under increasing pressure.
  • 75 percent of the world’s food relies on only 12 plant and 5 animal species, resulting in a higher vulnerability to global shocks.
  • Global and national economic shocks, conflicts and destabilization, and weather extremes are affecting the way we produce, supply and consume our foods. The crisis in Ukraine and other ongoing conflicts are adding further unpredictable challenges.
  • Many agrifood systems lack optimization, diversification and innovation while relying on the intensive use of chemical inputs and natural resources.
  • Most of the small-scale producers and family farmers are not integrated into value chains or able to achieve their full potential and competitive advantages in local, national, regional or global markets. These population groups are the most food insecure, yet play an essential role in feeding the world.

  • There are many current initiatives focused on inter alia, supporting mitigation and adaptation to climate change, preventing negative impacts on biodiversity and improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, with an increased focus on agrifood systems.

  • To support these initiatives, FAO identified an opportunity to fill a gap and developed an approach focused on addressing the demands and comparative advantages from a targeted, and value chain perspective.

  • The OCOP was developed as a country-led and country-driven initiative that focuses on Special Agricultural Products (SAPs) which have unique qualities and special characteristics that are associated with geographical locations, farming practices and cultural heritages, or untapped potential, and have not yet fully benefited from agricultural and rural development programmes.

  • The OCOP is focused on supporting countries in identifying and promoting SAPs that have the potential to be integrated into local, national, regional and global markets.

  • All FAO Member states are invited to join OCOP by submitting an expression of interest to FAO, outlining the SAP they would like to promote through the OCOP, and the areas along the value chain they would like to focus on improving.

  • The OCOP, through its governance structure outlined below, then works to address gaps, weaknesses and breakdowns in value chains – whether in production, storage, processing or marketing. The focus is on the development of sustainable and inclusive value chains to provide new opportunities for SAPs from each country.

  • To support the OCOP activities, mobilization of required resources is pursued at global, regional and national levels, in close collaboration with countries participating or interested in joining the initiative.

  • All countries are welcome to join the OCOP based on their own demand and comparative advantage(s). The OCOP will support the sustainable development of SAPs across all regions, with an initial focus on three key agroecological zones: the tropics, drylands and mountainous areas.

  • In the initial phase, countries are foreseen to select only one SAP for potential support and coordination by FAO, depending on funding availability. Countries also have the possibility to use the OCOP framework to target and promote additional SAPs through their own funding or other resources.

  • The OCOP considers different types of products and plans to focus on the sustainable development of field and horticulture crops as well as forest, livestock and fishery products.

  • The OCOP will support up to 2 to 3 main areas along the value chain, including production, storage, processing or marketing, according to needs and demands. Activities in additional areas may be fully covered by the country’s own funding.

  • Financial support to the OCOP potential project countries will be sought from different partners and sources, including financial and in-kind support, such as the provision of experts.

  • The OCOP implementation will be funded through different sources, including extra-budgetary resources, such as those sourced through FAO (i.e. South-South and Triangular Cooperation, the Flexible Voluntary Contribution (FVC) and the Hand-in-Hand Initiative) and those that are mobilized through project funding and countries’ own contributions. These initial investments and catalytic funding will be used to mobilize resources from a wider range of partners. As of December 2022, USD 500 000 has been funded with FVC and additional funding is being considered.

  • Expected co-funding from the potential project countries may vary depending on the availability and the types of resources, and can be combined to support activities. Countries can provide financial/budgetary support or in-kind contributions, as well as voluntary contributions to support the OCOP.

  • The contribution may include the provision of expertise and capacities offered by the government and the national counterparts, as well as covering the local expenses related to the implementation of field activities (e.g., providing venues for the in-country workshops, trainings, meetings, local transport, and other travel expenses, etc.). It is important for all parties to discuss, agree and document the financial and logistical contributions required for developing the projects’ resource requirements and plans.

  • Potential project countries: Countries that have shown their strong interest and have officially submitted an application to request support for a specific SAP will be designated as Potential Project Countries. These countries will be considered for financial and technical support for their chosen SAP and are invited to participate in the relevant OCOP activities and use the information and tools made available.

  • Demonstration project countries: These are potential project countries that have been identified to showcase the implementation of the OCOP country projects and facilitate the subsequent implementation of the OCOP in other project countries. Demonstration project countries will be selected based on the availability and the nature of their resources as well as their comparative advantage(s) for leading the implementation of the OCOP. The first round of the demonstration countries (one per region) were funded through the Flexible Voluntary Contribution (FVC) mechanism, and were therefore also selected based on the alignment of each country project with the FVC criteria.

  • Pilot project countries: These are potential project countries that have allocated or received funding support from one or more resources and are willing to implement the OCOP country projects, building on experience gained and examples set by Demonstration Project Countries. The pilot project countries will be identified based on the availability and the nature of their resources.

  • To date, FAO has started OCOP related activities in a few countries with initial support from its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP).

  • The OCOP aims to involve all relevant stakeholders who are encouraged to build partnerships, exchange knowledge and share innovations.

  • Technical cooperation is encouraged to mobilize the technical resources from research and training institutions as well as the various agricultural inputs (e.g. seeds, bio fertilizers, bio pesticides, etc.) from the private sector at the global, regional and national levels.

  • Financial cooperation is encouraged with a view to mobilize resources and support the OCOP globally through donations from financial institutions, development organizations, foundations and the private sector.

  • Other types of cooperation that promote assignment or exchange of experts, capacity development or other relevant support is encouraged to attract various types of in-kind contributions worldwide to support and contribute to the implementation of the OCOP.

  • The Steering Committee (SC), set up at FAO headquarters, oversees the implementation at global level. The SC is chaired by FAO Director-General and composed of the relevant senior co-leaders and directors of divisions/centres/offices, as well as relevant observers. The SC is supported by the OCOP Secretariat.

  • The Regional Organizing Group (ROG), established for each region, coordinates the implementation within the region. The ROG is led by the FAO Regional Assistant Director-General and composed of relevant members from the Regional Office, and FAO Representatives of participating countries in the region. Under the ROG, a Regional OCOP Working Team is set up to take care of the daily matters. If needed, a working group is established to provide technical support.

  • The National Task Force (NTF), set up in each participating country, carries out the implementation of the activities at the national level. It is led by the Senior Officer of the responsible Ministry and composed of the relevant members from different departments and the Senior Officer from FAO Country Office. Under the NTF, a National OCOP Working Team is set up to take care of the daily matters. If needed, a working group is established to provide technical support.

  • The OCOP is fully aligned with and complements FAO Programmes and initiatives.

  • The OCOP is one of the FAO Value Added Impact Areas (VAIAs), meaning it is an innovative or otherwise particularly critical work area that cuts across and supports multiple programmes, including:
    1. Better Production (BP)1 (Innovations for sustainable agriculture production), BP2 (Blue transformation), BP3 (One health), BP4 (Small-scale producers’ equitable access to resources), and BP5 (Digital agriculture);
    2. Better Nutrition (BN)1 (Healthy diets for all), and BN5 (Transparent markets and trade);
    3. Better Environment (BE)1 (Climate change-mitigated and adapted agrifood systems), BE3 (Biodiversity and ecosystems services for food and agriculture, and BE4 (Achieving sustainable urban food systems); and
    4. Better Life (BL)1 (Gender equality and rural women’s empowerment), and BL2 (Inclusive rural transformation).
  • The OCOP supports the Hand-in-Hand (HIH) Initiative as both are part of the complementary tools available to countries to transform their agrifood systems. The HIH Initiative uses advanced geospatial modelling and analytics as well as a robust partnership-building approach to accelerate the market-based transformation of agrifood systems, including an analysis of underutilized crops and animal species. The OCOP complements the HIH Initiative by focusing and assisting countries to utilize their unique potential through the identification of SAPs, ensuring improved access to stable markets, highlighting opportunities to improve farmers’ livelihoods, and providing entry points for reaching their defined country priorities.

  • The OCOP supports Members to define and contribute to their regional and national priorities by assisting in the implementation of the Country Programming Frameworks (CPF).

Let’s take the case study of Malawi.

  • Bananas are an important food crop for Malawi. Since 2004, it has lost 90 percent of its crops due to the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV). To meet demand, the country imports 20,000 MT annually from Tanzania and Mozambique, an equivalent forex loss of 8 million USD. In an attempt to revamp the banana industry, Malawi imports planting material from South Africa and France due to the lack of seed in-country, but they are costly, time consuming, limit farmer varietal preferences and are not sustainable. 

  • Malawi has been selected as one of the first five OCOP demonstration countries under the OCOP project. Although the banana industry in Malawi is affected by the lack of healthy planting materials, drought, limited access to technologies and lack of processing industry, it has suitable agricultural and climatic conditions and huge potential to become a banana exporter.

  • As part of OCOP, FAO will support Malawi in carrying out an assessment of the banana value chain and to develop a National Banana Sector Development Plan. To contribute to the revamp of the industry, FAO will provide support in building the technical capacity of researchers, agriculture and extension specialists, farmers and agribusinesses; demonstrating, validating and disseminating technologies (e.g. drip irrigation, Integrated Pest Management, disease-free seedling production, etc.) for the sustainable development of the banana industry; developing the processing industry and enhancing access to markets; and formulating relevant national policies, regulations, standards and procedures to enable environment for sustainable development of banana (e.g. to meet phytosanitary requirements for export). 

Lessons from the experiences of Malawi and the other demonstration countries will be communicated and applied in other OCOP project countries from 2023 onwards.

  • 2022: Prepare for the launch of the initial projects in the five demonstration countries across the five FAO regions.

  • 2023: In January-June, establish the Regional Organizing Group for each region; launch initial demonstration projects; and prepare for other country projects on field and horticulture crops. In July-December, prepare guidelines on country projects for forest and livestock products; and identify and launch demonstration country projects for forest and livestock products.

  • 2024-25: Organize the demonstration, extension and scaling-up of the successful activities and models in all OCOP project countries.

  • 2026: Conclude the Global Action on OCOP, organize dialogues on how to continue, integrate the promotion of SAPs at all levels and sustainably promote the outcomes of the OCOP worldwide.


FAO. 2022. The Global Action on Green Development of Special Agricultural Products: One Country One Priority Product – Action Plan 2021–2025. Rome.

FAO. 2022. One Country One Priority Product (OCOP). Cited 9 November 2022.