Mai Son works to raise OCOP product quality

Mai Son district boasts favourable soil and climate conditions for high-tech agriculture. Over the past years, it has focused on developing “One Commune-One Product” (OCOP) items, contributing to improving the competitiveness of local products and increasing income for farmers.

A custard apple growing model meeting VietGAP standards in Co Noi commune, Mai Son district.

Typical OCOP products

In August 2018, Mai Son announced the certification of the “Mai Son custard apple” trademark, an important basis for the production and trading, as well as protection and improvement of product quality and reputation, and the protection of the legitimate rights of both producers and consumers.

To date, the district has cultivated 681 hectares of custard apple, of them nearly 335 hectares using high technology, mainly in Co Noi, Muong Bon and Na Bo communes and Hat Lot town, yielding about 5,250 tonnes of the fruit each year.

The district has offered incentives to cooperatives in terms of capital, science and technology, and product quality control.

The Me Lech Cooperative in the hamlet of the same name, Co Noi commune, established in April 2018 with 26 members, is one of the first in the district to grow custard apple under VietGAP standards.

Its custard apple has been recognised to meet VietGAP standards and favoured by consumers. Last year, its “Dai Son custard apple” was listed as an OCOP product. Each year, the cooperative sells nearly 150 tonnes of the fruit, earning over 6.5 billion VND (255,368 USD) in revenue.

Currently, the cooperative has 200 hectares of custard apple of all kinds grown under VietGap standards, said its Director Nguyen Huu Tu, adding the “Dai Son custard apple” sticker on the fruit helps the cooperative promote its reputation, expand the market, and raise income for its members.

The cooperative continues to guide its members to grow custard apple organically and apply science and technology in order to increase productivity and quality, harvest as scheduled and satisfy market demands.

Farmers in Co Noi commune, Mai Son district, exchange custard apple farming techniques.

A member of the Me Lech Cooperative since its inception, Lo Van Sao said his family grows 6 hectares of custard apple. Since the fruit won the OCOP status, it has been sold smoothly in many provinces, cities and commercial centres, with higher prices, thus bringing stable income to local farmers.

In Chieng Chung commune, the Ara - Tay Coffee Cooperative, established in March 2020 with 14 members, is growing 70 hectares of coffee.

Joining the OCOP programme, the cooperative has been supported by specialised agencies of the district and the province to complete its business plan and product dossier. Its coffee products, namely Natural Green Coffee Bean and Honey Coffee, have been certified by competent agencies for their quality and origin, and supported to reach higher value and competitiveness in the market. 

The cooperative’s Director Cam Thi Mon said to win the OCOP status, its members have complied with the set production process, made a record of fertilisation time and pesticide use, and ensured food hygiene and safety in processing.

In 2022, the cooperative's coffee was recognised as a typical agricultural product and a four-star OCOP item.

Coffee beans of the Son La Coffee Processing Factory are delivered to both domestic and foreign markets.

Standardising OCOP products

Last year, Mai Son contributed nine products in the OCOP list, with two rated four-star, and seven, three-star. The products boasted guaranteed quality and diversity in design and packaging, as well as met requirements on stamps, labels, and product traceability. Stakeholders can use the OCOP label for products in both domestic and foreign markets.

This year, Mai Son expects to have eight three-star OCOP items, comprising three in the processed food group, two fresh products, one raw or semi-processed product, one spice product, and one coffee product.

The district is instructing businesses, cooperatives and individuals to step up the standardisation of the products according to the OCOP criteria. The new products are formed on the basis of science-technology application and local advantages, with quality and added values associated with community development.

Stakeholders are encouraged to invest in innovation and apply advanced science and technology in production, and preliminary processing, preservation and processing of products, and to improve productivity and product quality, thus meeting market requirements.

Roasted coffee of Son La Coffee Processing JSC in Thong Nhat hamlet, Muong Bon commune, are expected to be recognised as a three-star OCOP product this year.

Nguyen Nhu Hung, Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors and Director of the Son La Coffee Processing Factory, said the company has received support from the district to join the OCOP programme, and build and complete the product dossier.

At the same time, the company has organised training courses on administration and marketing for managers, stepped up trade promotion, and optimised information-technology and digital transformation in production, market connection and product traceability, he added.

He called this an opportunity for the company's roasted coffee to be labeled as an OCOP product, as well as for the firm to promote geographical indication building, and push ahead with the implementation of protection solutions.

Workers at the Son La Coffee Processing Factory.

Nguyen Khac Hao, head of the district Division of Agriculture and Rural Development, said to further improve the quality, efficiency, and sustainability of OCOP products, the district is helping businesses and cooperatives with technical standards in production and processing, coordinating with specialised agencies to train residents on building agricultural production models under the VietGAP process, forming concentrated production areas, and promoting production links, contributing to spurring agriculture-based and rural economic development.

Thanks to efforts by competent agencies, businesses, cooperatives and producers, Mai Son district now has 20 OCOP items, including 10 four-star products. The OCOP products have gradually consolidated their foothold in markets inside and outside the province, contributing to agricultural restructuring, in tandem with new-style rural area building, job creation and improvement of income for local residents.

At the same time, the district has formed and developed green and clean agricultural production areas and high-tech agriculture./.


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