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Challenges for the One Village One product (OVOP) movement in Sub-Saharan Africa - Insights from Malawi, Japan and Thailand

Research reports

Written by Dirk Willem te Velde, Fletcher Tembo

This paper compares the One Village One product (OVOP) movements of Japan, Thailand, and Malawi to examine their similarities and differences and to provide Sub Sahara African countries which are adopting the OVOP approach with measures necessary to overcome existing constraints. The OVOP movement encourages the mobilization of local human, material, and cultural resources to create value-added products/services for domestic and external markets. However, the Thai and Malawian OVOPs were initially different from the Japanese OVOP due to the strong initiative taken by the central government and in the emphasis on economic, rather than social, purposes.

This study suggests that, in order to make OVOP take off in Africa, prompt actions are necessary in several fronts. First, spatial connectivity needs to be improved so that OVOP producers can participate in national and global value chains. The brand-making and e-commerce could also be promising areas as demonstrated by the Thai success. African countries will further need foreign cooperation in financing and management trainings. In order to use limited resources effectively and efficiently, however, external and internal stakeholders must coordinate their activities closely. Finally, we need to introduce social indicators (such as women’s empowerment, capacity improvement of community leaders, and self realisation), in addition to economic ones, to assess the effectiveness of the OVOP movement.

Kiyoto Kurokawa, Fletcher Tembo, Dirk Willem te Velde