Localities speed up exports of OCOP products to the UK

15/11/2023    18

Obtaining certificates and assessments that adhere to market standards and criteria will be the main focus for companies and OCOP goods.

Several northern localities have been fostering exports of the "One Commune One Product" (OCOP) products to the United Kingdom to enjoy import tax reductions under the effective UK-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).

According to Yên Bái's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the province has shipped 10 OCOP products to the UK market.

These products have been checked to meet food safety criteria, quality indicators, and packaging and label design requirements under European standards. Up to now, all paperwork and product quantities have been completed and these goods are ready for export, the department said.

These products include Trà Quế (Cinnamon Tea) from Phương Nhung Co; high-quality green tea products from Bảo Hưng Cooperative; Quy Mông vermicelli from Việt Hải Đăng Cooperative; Diệp tea and Shan Tuyết black tea products from Suối Giàng Cooperative and Hòa Cuông Cinnamon from Quế Khánh Thành Cooperative.

To enter the UK market, products have to meet strict criteria, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hương, director of R.Y.B Joint Stock Company which is in charge of packing and transporting these items to the export market, told 

She added that importers always put quality criteria first, fulfilling food hygiene and safety standards and ensuring there are no pesticide residues or substances harmful to health.

According to the provincial People’s Committee, OCOP is an important programme that aims to develop the rural economy with a focus given to developing higher value-added agricultural products.

Over the past time, the province has been implementing many solutions to support people, businesses, and cooperatives to gradually improve quality, develop brands, and speed up consumption of OCOP products, the committee said.

To date, Yên Bái Province has 193 OCOP products, of which 21 are awarded four stars and 172 are granted three stars.

It is striving to have at least 300 OCOP products awarded three stars or higher; 20 OCOP products granted four stars and 1-2 OCOP products awarded five stars by 2025. It also targets to export 15-20 OCOP products in the next two years.

To realise these goals, Yên Bái said it would continue to improve the quality of OCOP products, expand the scale and seek new export markets.

Top priority would also be given to restructuring production areas, innovating production organisations, promoting the establishment of cooperatives, and conducting surveys on the current state of production and consumption of OCOP products, thereby improving the quality and value of these products.

In addition, the province would continue to support local businesses and cooperatives to advance trade promotion and digital transformation.

Another success

At the same time, Hòa Bình Province said it had exported the first batch of two OCOP products, turmeric starch and honey peach lemon tea, to the UK.

Turmeric starch of Nhưng Vần Artificial Powder Co and honey peach lemon tea from Hà Phong Cooperative were first exported to the UK market in July with a quantity of 60 boxes, or 1,080 jars weighing 200 to 500 grams each.

Both products had fully met the food safety criteria required by the EU and the UK. They had been also packed in standard export cartons and transported to the export market by R.Y.B Joint Stock Co.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Đinh Công Sứ said that the export of the two OCOP items proved the advantages and potential of the province’s agricultural products to meet consumers’ tastes, even those in selective markets such as the UK.

He said that in the future, the province’s agricultural sector and localities would continue to strengthen production management and the development of raw material areas.

Local authorities would support food safety certification for raw material areas and help manufacturers improve product quality, packaging design and traceability stamps, and participate in trade promotion programmes.

Departments, agencies and local authorities were the bridge connecting producers with businesses so the parties could regularly meet and exchange information to improve product quality and designs to better meet market requirements, he said.

Local authorities were asked to promptly grasp the problems and difficulties of the parties, and timely support their resolution.

He said local authorities would continue to call on investors and support them in investing and purchasing products.

Nguyễn Minh Tiến, Director of the Trade Promotion Centre for Agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that with special free trade agreements, including the UKVFTA, Việt Nam’s import tax rates had been greatly reduced, allowing it to compete with other countries when jumping into the UK and EU markets.

However, obtaining certificates and assessments that adhere to market standards and criteria would be our main focus for companies and OCOP goods, he said.

To take advantage of the UKVFTA and speed up exports of OCOP goods to the market, the Government and agencies needed to support businesses in implementing the evaluation, appraisal and identification processes, especially for our agricultural products and food, to meet the customer needs, regulations, food safety and hygiene standards, and other environmental requirements.

OCOP products would formally enter the UK market and others once they had satisfied all requirements, and then businesses would adjust and change packaging designs to suit the domestic market.

"The key now is the issue of evaluation and being granted the certificates to ensure the specified standards," he said.

Currently, many policies had also been integrated with capital sources to organise the implementation of the OCOP Programme, supporting infrastructure investment and product development.

He added that specific support policies would need to be developed for OCOP products in accordance with the orientation and actual conditions of the locality.

The OCOP programme, which began in Quảng Ninh in 2013, is now being implemented in all cities and provinces throughout Việt Nam.

The programme has helped provinces not only promote production locally and increase their product presence in other cities across the country, but also boost exports.

By August 2023, the number of OCOP products reached 8,478, of which 65.4 per cent were awarded three stars, 33.4 per cent four stars, and 0.2 per cent five stars. OCOP producer status has been granted to 4,351 local facilities.

Source: Việt Nam News