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Thailand: OTOP Producers with Good Potential for Development as SME Operators
Source: thailand.prd.go.th
Source Date: Monday, May 31, 2010
Focus: Internet Governance
Country: Thailand
Created: Jun 07, 2010

Successful “One Tambon, One Product,” or “OTOP,” producers will be developed as small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) operators. Permanent Secretary for Industry Witoon Simachokedee said that the development project would enable OTOP entrepreneurs to enhance their efficiency and competitiveness. The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion under the Ministry of Industry has been entrusted with coordinating with various agencies in carrying out this project, which is linked with local wisdom and culture.

Under the project, two OTOP producers from each of the 75 provinces nationwide will be selected to join the SME development process. Mr. Witoon said that emphasis would be placed on custom-made development in accordance with local social and cultural aspects, without changing the lifestyle of the communities. The Office of the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, the Department of Agricultural Extension, and the Department of Industrial Promotion will offer a helping hand in product development, management, and marketing promotion, while the Community Development Department will provide relevant information.

The OTOP program was launched in 2001 as a self-help mechanism for each and every community, with emphasis on rural areas, to draw upon local knowledge and ingenuity. It is based on three major principles. The first principle, called “Local Yet Global,” seeks to develop local products to international standards on a continual basis in line with local culture. The second principle, known as “Self-Reliance and Creativity,” seeks to develop local products, taking into consideration the revival of local culture and traditions to bring out the uniqueness of each village. The third principle, called “Human Resource Development,” involves a move to build up members of the community who are knowledgeable and capable and have broad vision.

In order to stimulate the manufacture of local products using home-grown expertise and skills, the Government provides villagers with technical assistance and advice to enable them to produce their goods efficiently and at high standards. As a key incentive, the Government assists in the marketing of these goods, in cooperation with the private business sector. The OTOP initiative has generated employment and income in the respective localities, helping communities reduce emigration in search of jobs elsewhere. It will also ensure that wealth circulates within the communities, thereby increasing the purchasing power in rural areas. The development of OTOP producers as SME operators is expected to help strengthen and reinforce the grassroots sector.
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