Ba Ria-Vung Tau and OCOP are changing the face of agriculture

August 28, 2023 | 10:00
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One Commune One Product (OCOP) items not only help farmers increase their income but also promote the modern and sustainable development of agriculture in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau and OCOP are changing the face of agriculture

Truong Van Hau, director of Long Tan Melon Cooperative, was once a novice in the agriculture industry. He lost billions of VND because his melon crops failed. In the end, Hau managed to achieve success and inspire many people in his home of Long Tan commune, Dat Do district, in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, to replicate the model.

Ly Hong Nam, chairman of the Farmers' Association of Long Tan commune, said, "Hau's operations have now increased to nearly 30 high-tech melon growers in the locality. Long Tan melon has obtained a 3-star OCOP certification, along with other agricultural products in the district such as Lang Dai taro, Loc An longan, and Diep Chau green vegetables."

Since its inception in 2018, the national OCOP initiative has been identified as spearheading the improvement in quality and value of Ba Ria-Vung Tau's goods, while also contributing to the lives of farmers and the face of rural areas.

Huynh Son Thai, director of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, "To achieve the OCOP star, products must first be evaluated at the district level. If the products score 50 points or more, they will be evaluated at the provincial level. Then, the Ba Ria-Vung Tau People's Committee evaluates and classifies OCOP items. So, each product has to go through three rounds of evaluation to be eligible for OCOP standards. After three years, each product is re-evaluated to earn more stars, with the lowest level being one star and the highest being five stars."

OCOP-certified items are typical products from the province that fully meet the criteria of food safety, traceability, environmental protection, packaging, labels, export andcommercialisation potential, and use locally sourced raw materials.

After receiving an OCOP star, each product is promoted by the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at trade promotions, conferences, seminars, and fairs in the province and beyond. The products will also be made available through e-commerce sales channels such as Vo So and Postmart.

Thanks to a rigorous evaluation process and extensive communications, OCOP has become a guarantee for quality agricultural products in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. Since its introduction, farmers' income in the province has increased significantly.

According to Truong Van Hau, 1,000 square metres will achieve an output of 3–4 tons of melon crop in the right conditions, bringing in a revenue of between VND100–120 million ($4,350-5,210). With seven different operations growing four crops a year, he makes a profit of nearly VND1 billion ($43,350).

Similarly, Long Phuoc durian also benefits from its recognitionas a 3-star OCOP item. The supermarket CoopMart in Ba Ria has signed a purchase agreement with farmers to distribute the durian, bringing hundreds of millions of VND in revenue for farmers in the locality.

Nguyen Van Huong, a farmer in Long Phuoc commune of Ba Ria city, said "With a 1.2 hectare garden of durian, he records a stable yield of between 22–24 tonnes of fruit per year. With an average price of about VND55,000 ($2.40) per kg, he earns a profit of more than VND900 million (almost $40,000) per year."

Ba Ria-Vung Tau and OCOP are changing the face of agriculture

OCOP promotes a modern and sustainable agricultural model

Since September 2023, Ba Ria-Vung Tau has been home to more than 90 typical agricultural products recognised as OCOP items with 3 stars or more. Among them, over 60 products are recognised as having four stars. The growing list of OCOP items has significantly contributed to changing the province's agricultural structure towards modernity and sustainability.

Lam Ngoc Nham, director of Bau May Agriculture, Trade, and Tourism Cooperative, which produces its own 4-star OCOP items from pepper, said, "The cooperative gives top priority to product quality by following Global Good Agricultural Practices. The cooperative strictly controls the use of fertilisers, irrigation water, and pesticides. In addition, the products also comply with regulations on production logs, traceability, and barcode registration."

Xuan Truong Cooperative, in Binh Ba commune, Chau Duc district, has also participated in production under the OCOP model. Farmers there have learned how to use fertilisers without chemicals to grow dragon fruit. As a result, the farmers have achieved stable sales of the fruit without depending on traders, thereby improving their living standards.

"The cooperative is actively reducing pesticides and applying organic fertilisers properly without using chemicals. The cooperative has four areas, each generating four tons of produce. With the current price of dragon fruit, the farmers earn a higher income than they would by growing pepper," said Trinh Van Tien, a member of Xuan Truong Cooperative.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau and OCOP are changing the face of agriculture

By 2025, Ba Ria-Vung Tau hopes to have at least 150 OCOP items with three stars or higher. The province will develop at least 20 points of sale for OCOP items, while taking a holistic approach to developing the agriculture sector and promoting OCOP standards.

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What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional