Title: Implications of the One Tambon One Product Policy on Sustainable Development in Thailand
Author: Devraj Rangsit
Keywords: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, OTOP, DISCOURSE, THAKSIN SHINAWATRA
The One Tambon One Product (OTOP) policy under the Thaksin government was meant to be an initiator of SD through Thailand's decentralization process, the empowerment of local communities and employment creation and income diversification within local vicinities.
The objectives of this thesis are as follows: Firstly, to clarify OTOP's conceptual implication to the notion of Sustainable Development in Thailand. Secondly, to identify the differences between the operating principles of OTOP and the Fair trade movement, and their implication towards the enabling of SD and community empowerment.
The methodologies employed are structured interviews of key informants supplanted with the assessment of data from reports and past evaluation of OTOP as part of the comparative analysis. Informants included staffs from the National Research Council of Thailand and the managerial personnel of a Fair trade organization in Thailand.
The findings are: Through the comparative analysis of OTOP's current operating principles with principles employed by the Fair trade organizations, the revenue generated through OTOP, despite of its high volume does not contribute towards the enabling of the policy's stated objectives. Implementation of OTOP lacks the disaggregate differentiation between the various types of producers involved as well as the fact that overwhelming emphasis is given to the volume of trade rather than the quality of trade conducted or the extent of the community learning process enabled.
Recommendations: In order for OTOP to be an effective instigator of sustainable economic growth and community empowerment, there is an essential need for the differentiation between the types of producers endorsed. Equally important OTOP's current strategic objective of trade maximization should be replaced with the need for increased emphasis on 'customer education' and 'ethical consumption'.
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