Japan willing to aid OVOP scheme
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
JAPAN is willing to provide further support for Brunei’s One Village, One Product (OVOP) initiative should Brunei’s government request it, said the Japanese Ambassador to Brunei recently.
In an E-mail interview, Noriko Iki noted that Japan had already extended a hand to Brunei’s OVOP initiatives by sending experts from Oita Prefecture in 2010 and 2011.
“The Japanese experts observed that Brunei’s OVOP products were packaged quite well and they looked and tasted nice,” she said.
She however said that the experts noted that there was still room for improvements in the product’s concept, originality and the entrepreneurs’ ability to continuously produce the products while maintaining its quality.
According to earlier reports, OVOP entrepreneurs had always voiced difficulties in further developing and marketing their products.
They also spoke of the lack of raw materials and the need for technological assistance to help them meet the necessary requirements for mass production.
In 2010 and 2011, Shoichi Asaki, a senior researcher from the Oita Industrial Research Institute, came to Brunei to observe and help entrepreneurs further develop Brunei’s OVOP initiative.
Asaki suggested for entrepreneurs to upgrade their facilities to include proper refrigeration storage, heat sealers and vacuum packers to ensure freshness of food products.
He also touched on the importance of tools to measure the salt and sugar content in the food products.
He added that each village should play on their uniqueness to further market their products, as it is one of the factors that sets them apart from each other.
Japan was the initiator of the OVOP movement when then Governor of Oita prefecture Morihiko Hiramatsu implemented the initiative to develop the community and local products.
While noting that the OVOP project in Japan was a success, Iki said that there was more to its success than government subsidiaries.
“After all, the OVOP movement is not about product development, but about human resource development, as Hiramatsu... puts it “the prefectural government helps those who help themselves,” she said.
“(For Brunei) we are willing to consider further support if the Bruneian government so requests,” she added.
She also expressed her belief that should the OVOP project became a success in Brunei, it will improve the quality of life at the community level and reduce unemployment.
The Brunei Times