– Your Excellency, Dr. Morihiko Hiramatsu, The President of Oita OVOP International Exchange Promotion Committee, Japan,
– Your Excellency, Mr. Shigeo Takenaka, Secretary General of Asian Productivity Organization (APO),
– Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
– Beloved Participants!
Today, I have a great honor and pleasure to join Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen in this important national conference on One Village, One Product.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and extend my appreciations to the Secretariat of the National Committee of One Village, One Product (OVOP) for its close cooperation with the National Productivity Center of Cambodia and Asia Product Organization, and with the financial support from the Government of Japan in organizing this conference. In particular may I sincerely thank H.E. Dr. Morihiko Hiramatsu, the President of OVOP International Exchange Promotion Committee, Oita, Japan, H.E. Mr. Shigeo Takenaka, Secretary General of Asian Productivity Organization and all panelists for sparing your valuable time to share the knowledge and experiences to implement the One Village, One Product movement aiming at promoting the successful realization of this initiative in Cambodia.
Indeed, the agricultural policy of the Royal Government focus on the improvement of agricultural productivity and the agricultural diversification and to transform the agriculture sector into a spearhead sector which can provide additionaldynamics to promote economic growth and significantly contribute to poverty reduction. Thus, a shift from the “open” or“extensive” into “comprehensive” or “intensive” development, meaning that intensification of land use is the highest priority of the Royal Government.
Under this framework, The Royal Government will continue to push the “One village, One Product” movement to foster innovative ideas and self-confidence of rural people based on four important principles: (i) find the production method that is suitable to the village’s conditions and meet the market demand; (ii) enable and encourage people to produce by improving market access, providing credit, transferring technology and supplying seeds; (iii) build management capacity and human resources; and (iv) enable the people to establish agricultural community to ensure price stability of the product.
The concept of “One Village, One Product” plays an important role in promoting the rural economic growth, improving the livelihood of the people and contributing to poverty reduction. It encourages the production of good quality products that are needed by both the domestic and foreign markets and well linked to the tourism sector which is growing gradually every year. As the result, we can strengthen and expand more professions and create more jobs, reduce urban migrations and increase the value-added products due to high quality innovation.
I still remember that the last time I visited Oita in June 2001, it was a province that has successfully implemented the concept of “One Village, One Product” and, currently the concept is put into practice in many countries around the world such as Thailand, Philippines, China, Korea, Malaysia and some other countries in Africa and America. In Cambodia, the concept of“One Village, One Product” has been initiated for a very long time ago when Cambodian people creatively produced various kinds of products according to the traditions and regions by using the available inputs and resources at the village in order to increase their family’s income. Those products included baskets, pottery, silk, and food etc. Some provinces, for instanceKampong Chhange, was named after the name of its specialized product “Pottery”.
Indeed, the development of Local Production Community is certainly not an easy task, because the local community still lack the resources such human capital, natural resources, financial resources and innovative ideas. The main task here is to mobilize and use the potential resources at each place to promote specialization. Therefore, we should focus our attention on promoting local productions by maintaining the quality and quantity of the products to timely response to the market. By doing so, we can strengthen the competitiveness of the local products with those imported goods from other regions, especially from foreign countries and the overspending on imports can be gradually reduced through promoting import substitution.
Moreover, encouraging and promoting domestic products can reduce economic leakages to foreign countries through imported foreign goods. For instance, 30% of revenue from tourism was leaked out of country through imported foreign goods to serve the tourism sector in Cambodia. Therefore, to patch the leakages we need to develop some kinds of local production programs by conducting comprehensive study to find out the potential products that can be used to promote the local economy.
The general experience showed that the improvement of local production and international competitiveness rely on local resources mobilization and the attraction of foreign capital inflows which is the take-off scenario for an economy. Thus, the key strategy for economic development usually starts from the efficient mobilizing of potential domestic resources in accordance with the traditional technology, production, natural resources, capital inventory and using comparative advantage for specialization and mass production, which are the key factors for job creation and income generation. In this context, the promotion of “One Village, One Products” concept would positively have an impact on the rural economy.
More importantly, the concept of OVOP will increase the confidence of the rural people to transform and build their local production capacity in accordance with traditional technology of their respective regions which is the foundation for rural economic development and also the main cause of poverty reduction in Cambodia.
I am convinced that the today conference on OVOP will gain new knowledge and experiences from the countries that have successfully implemented this concept, especially Japan and Thailand. I hope that the conference will disseminate and attract the attentions of businessmen, producers, craftsmen, national and international organizations and institutions of the Royal Government to participate for the successful and efficient implementation of this movement which can be done through improving market access, promoting local production, improving the quality, promoting the use of local goods to improve their competitiveness and promoting overseas exportation.
While we commit ourselves to promote the“One Village, One Product” movement to promote the innovative ideas and self-confidence of our rural people, I would take this opportunity to share my views on the implementation of OVOP in the context of Cambodia as follows:
First, Cambodia has the potential of economic resources and huge land size. Moreover, 80% of the people live in rural area and they have the opportunity and capacity to participate in the development of this movement, especially with the decentralization and de-concentration policies of the Royal Government which give the priority on the reforms of all sectors can facilitate the implementation of this movement. In this spirit, the promotion of agricultural processing based on the exiting skill of the local people to produce high quality products to compete in the domestic and foreign markets and could increase the rural economic growth.
Second, the Agro-industry and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will play the main role in this movement through increasing value-added. However, it can also impact on the national resources and the environment. Therefore, the local authority has to closely cooperate with the local people to effectively manage and protect the natural environment, especially to ensure a sustainable development.
Third, tourism is the potential sector for economic development in Cambodia. OVOP will play a very important role to link the local products to the demand of hotels, restaurants and super markets. In addition, the contribution of the private sector is a crucial factor in implementing the OVOP, especially in finding new markets for the products.
Fourth, human resources equipped with real knowledge, know-how, and experiences are the key factors for ensuring the success of this movement. Presently, the shortage of human resources and urbanization are the challenges for Cambodia. Hence, the implementation of OVOP will provide rural people with opportunities to develop their own capacity to participate in the rural economic activity.
Fifth, infrastructural development such as transportation, electricity, telecommunication, and information technology will support OVOP in order to link the local products to national and international markets.
Clearly, in order to succeed in the implementation of OVOP according to the above concept, there are more works that need to be done. Obviously, all relevant ministries, institutions, and local authorities have to facilitate and cooperate closely with the National Committee for OVOP to assist in the administrative and technical works, and other resources in order to effectively implementing the OVOP .
At the same time, the Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Profession, micro enterprises, and Rural Development Bank as well as domestic and overseas financial institutions must strengthen their cooperation with the National Committee forOVOP by searching for markets, facilitating credit services, and searching for new techniques to improve the production base, employment communities and other poor communities to create more jobs, to enable them to expand the businesses and production with quality. Also in this context, the National Committee for One Village One Product must play an important role in linking the local products to the central market, and in pushing domestic production for export. In fact, in order to achieve this, the National Committee for One Village One Product must cooperate with local authorities and relevant institutions to establish One Village One Product markets, night markets and to arrange for exhibitions for selling the One Village One Product’s products by setting up sites for local education in each area, exchanging experience between one community and another, and forming One Village One Product Movement communities to achieve the success.
I would like to take this opportunity to instruct the government’s ministries and institutions, and to appeal to development partners of Cambodia and non-government organizations to support the Cambodian OVOP base on the philosophy of “Use Khmer Products For the Sake of All of Us”. Also, the National Committee for One Village One Productmust continue to strengthen its cooperation with Asian Productivity Organization and other countries implementing the OVOPin order to gain experience, as well as to seek resources and technical assistance to push this movement for success.
I would also like to take this opportunity to deeply thank Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, and all the donors who have donated to “Samdech HUN SEN Fund for One Village One Product” and appeal to other donors to contribute to the Fund to support the operation of the National Committee for One Village One Product.
Finally, I hope this conference will be held successfully and produce fruitful results and wish Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen with the Five Gems of Buddhist Blessing. May I now declare the opening of the conference on One Village One Product.