OTOP stands for ‘One Tambon (meaning sub-district) One Product’. It is a local entrepreneurship stimulus program which aims to support the unique locally made and marketed products of each Thai tambon all over Thailand.
OTOP drew its inspiration from Japan’s successful One Village One Product (OVOP) programme, and encourages village communities to improve local product quality and marketing. It selects one superior product from each tambon to receive formal branding as a “starred OTOP product”, and provides a local and international stage for the promotion of these products.
OTOP products cover a large array of local products, including handicrafts, cotton and silk garments, pottery, fashion accessories, household items, and foods. So far a number of product groups have been classified for promotion; these include food items and beverages, textiles and clothing, woven handicrafts, artistry items, gifts, household and decorative items, and non-edible herbal products. These cover traditional items made in village communities, each lovingly crafted with the inimitable flavours and style of their localities.
Different regions are noted for specific types of products. Highlights of products from different regions in Thailand include:
Superb handicrafts, particularly carved wood, silverware, specialty paper products, ceramics, bamboo baskets, cotton fabrics and silver jewellery from hill-tribe minorities.
NORTHEASTERN THAILAND OR I-SAN
It is a tradition in the Northeast for villagers to make two sets of clothes – everyday work clothes and high quality silk items created with outstanding skill for special occasions like weddings and festivals. These latter items are being selected as OTOP products. Silk and cotton fabrics, especially tie-dyed mudmee designs. The most famous are Lai Khid and Phrae Wa silks. Other items include reed mats, baskets woven from water hyacinth and triangular pillows.
Traditional handicrafts of bamboo and bai lan, great earthen pots, Dan Kwian and Koh Kred pottery and terra cotta items.
Famed for its fruits, fresh and processed, as well as bamboo and rattan baskets, reed mats and mudmee fabrics.
Batik fabrics, woven products from lipao, bulrush and panan pandanus, mother-of-pearl inlays and carved wood products.
Village-made OTOP products are selected for promotion because of their quality and export potential. Many of the silks and Benjarong ceramics, for instance, are works of art, intricately and lovingly crafted by hand.
The project has strong government support on many levels – identifying potential OTOP products, providing advice on production, quality control, packaging and designs that make them even more attractive to domestic and export markets. The entire OTOP product cycle comes under the supervision of a National OTOP Committee, with regional and provincial level committees to assist in identifying, developing and grading OTOP products.
Cr. Royal Thai Embassy Singapore.