CM Yogi Adityanth Started the ODOP Programme in Uttar Pradesh in 2018. But The Impact of this Initiative is too big. Since the independence of our country for the past 75 years, we've been voicing our concerns for the farmers and small businesses of our country. On one side while the capitals claim that freebies and loan waivers are ruining our economy, on the other side the Socialists often cry about the lack of facilities and giant companies paralyzing the progress of small businesses. While both socialists and capitalists have been busy arguing. The politicians of this country have used it as an opportunity to make promises give out freebies and rise to power, but at the end of the day the fact remains that Indian farmers and Indian small businesses are still struggling even after 75 years, but you know what this is where the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh has come out with an absolutely revolutionary program called the one district one product program, and if executed properly it will not just make the Indian Farmers rich but will also turn the smallest districts of Uttar Pradesh into the export hubs of the country.
The best part is that this program has already been so successful in the past Four years, that now it is regarded as the most important scheme for regional Economic Development all across the country. Now The question is what is this one district one product program?
What did the UP government do so special that it is now being implemented all across the country? to understand this UP model, we first have to understand the existing problems in the Indian market, and why is the Up government so so Keen on this one district one product initiative.
WHY DID ONE DISTRICT ONE PRODUCT INITIATIVE IMPORTANT?
You see we all know that India has Rich cultural traditions, diversity, and geography, but very few of us actually understand the same Indian cultural tradition, geography, and diversity. From a capitalistic standpoint to tell you about it. If you look at Dubai, They spent billions and turned a desert into a tourist Hotspot with hotels, amusement parks, Aqua Venture Parks, and underwater zoos, and they have done such an incredible job that as of 2019, while India had 17.91 million tourists, Dubai which is such a small country had about 16.73 million tourists. Now, do you realize whatever Dubai spent billions for? We already have it for free at a scale that, even a trillion-dollar budget cannot get you. We have mountains, valleys, Greenery, desert, beaches, and so many more things and yet we are nowhere among the leading tourist destinations in the world. Similarly, we have so many types of crops, handicrafts, Stone Arts, Woodworks, and countless other things that are export worthy, but even then neither the makers of these products nor we the users have any clue about their potential. And at the same time, we keep complaining about our import-export Gap widening. Now the question we hear is when there is so much potential in India why aren't we able to leverage it? well, this is where the three major reasons.
1. One district one product model comes in the first problem that we have is the lack of resources to access the hot markets. A classic example is the same is something called the Shazer Stone Art. For those who don't know Shahs of Stone is known as the stone of glory and wonder, and the reason why it has such flattering tags is because of the mesmerizing colors and patterns seen on the stone and the skill of the Artisan lies in cleaning crafting finishing and polishing of the stone. The best part is that the various quality and Singularity of these Stones is such that no two stones are similar in any way. And this unique stone is found exclusively along the Ken River in Uttar Pradesh. So it's extremely rare but guess what in spite of the stone being Mother Nature's Own work of art in India there is no demand for it at all, but the actual Market of the stone lies in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Israel. This is because the Hajj Pilgrims from all around the world take Shazar Stone souvenirs with Quran's quotes on it. So you all see although the product is made in India and is rare, since its Market lies on the other side of the world. These Artisans do not have the Acumen or resources to access them. So they remain poor.
2. The second reason for this is the lack of awareness about the high-demand markets. For example, even if there is a lot of demand for an easy-to-digest low fat, low-calorie, fermented dish like Dosa in Europe unless the Dosa seller in India knows about the market in Europe. He will never be able to capture it.
3. We have some miscellaneous but major problems for different products like marketing. some do not have the tech to achieve low-cost production, and many need garment subsidies and consultation to achieve economies of scale.
This is a reason why the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh has initiated the one district one product program. And the vision of this program is to transform every District of the state into an export Hub by identifying specific products having export prospects.
Let's see this case study-
One product which is a naturally scented rice with countless health benefits contains a compound called anthocyanin which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. On top of that it is naturally gluten-free,rich in protein, iron, vitamin, calcium, magnesium, and natural fiber. This makes it a wonderful product for weight loss, and all it is known to be a natural detoxifier, and its consumption helps in the prevention of ailments such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, and even hypertension. Now the question is in spite of this miraculous product being grown in your own country, how many of you actually knew about Kalanamak Rice? Very few, right? well, this product has a huge Market in countries like the US, New Zealand, Australia, and even UK.
But until 2018 except for a few the farmers were not even willing to grow Kalanamak rice in India. And even if they did, it was very difficult for them to sell it. And this is where the one district one product program came in as a game changer for these farmers, and what happened in the next three years will blow your mind. As it turns out in some areas the number of farmers growing Kalanamak Rice Suddenly went from 15- 20 to 750-800 farmers and the area of this rice cultivation in Siddharth Nagar alone went up from 2805 hectares in 2019 to 5000 hectares in 2020. To almost 10,000 hectares in 2022 and the best part is that the farmer's income has increased by manifolds as the wholesale price of Kala Namak Rice has increased from 40 rupees per kg in 2018 to 90 rupees per kg in 2020 and 135 rupees per kg in 2021. And now it is actually being exported to Western countries with a vision to turn it into a major export commodity of India.
How did Kalanamak Rice suddenly become such a phenomenal success in just four years? And what did the UP government do so special?
The first thing that the government did was to identify the right markets and help these Farmers access and Market their products the right way,
for example, the term Kala Namak rice might be familiar to us, but for people outside of India, and for that matter even people in South India who don't understand Hindi, for them, Kalanamak Rice is not a very marketable name, isn't. So you know what under the guidance of the government has now been rebranded as Buddha rice and it was presented to Buddhist monks in order to promote it in Buddhist countries, and this includes countries like Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar. This is because it is believed that Lord Buddha broke his fast with a pudding made of the same rice. On top of that, the government even assisted the farmers to package the rice with Buddha branding. And this is what the packaging looks like, so it's not only Lord Buddha's picture. But also has a code that has a sacred backstory, so you see suddenly merely by changing its branding, now Black Rice is appealing to a huge International Market.
Secondly, a lot of assistance was given to the value chain of Kala Namak Rice and this includes demonstrations of the cropping system, distribution of high-yielding varieties of seeds, improved Farm machineries, integrated nutrients, Pest management techniques, processing, and post Harvest equipment and a ton of other training was given to the farmers.
Thirdly the UP government organized special festivals to give Market access to our farmers. In this case, a three-day Festival was organized in Siddharth Nagar, in collaboration with the export promotion Department in March 2021. This Festival brought farmers and buyers on the same platform and created awareness such that the farmers could understand the market and the buyers could understand the product.
In fact, the UP government hosted festivals not just for Kala Namak Rice but also for strawberry and jaggery, and now the government is looking to organize a similar Fest for dragon fruit to further expand its Market. On other hand e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart are also being used to provide a larger market to Farmers and FPS. In fact, in 2020 Flipkart signed an MOU with the government of Uttar Pradesh, so now Flipkart is actively engaged in Breaking the entry barriers for the farmers by extending time-bound incubation support and this includes benefits in the form of onboarding, free cataloging, marketing, account management, business insights, and Warehouse using support and you will be delighted to know that as of 3rd June 2022, Flipkart announced that all products had recorded sales of 1600 crores and this is since 2020 only.
Similarly, there are other avenues opening up with Amazon and other e-commerce companies.
Fourth and Last, there is something called CFC or common facility centers coming up for Kala Namak rice and other ODOP products. This Center will provide all the facilities Under One Roof including training for Branding, marketing, Credit Finance, skill development, General and air-conditioned storage, processing, grading, packaging, and barcoding machines as per the requirements of the goods. These CFC centers are being established not just for Kalanamak Rice but for all ODOP products across. The best part is while the cost of a single CFC is close to 15 crores, the government itself will bear 90 percent of this cost, and in total the government of Uttar Pradesh has provided financial assistance of 8200 crores, benefiting 2600 entrepreneurs in the last three years itself.
So in summary By marketing and branding, to achieve product-market fit, education, and guidance to optimize production festivals to give access to the untapped but high-potential markets, combined with e-commerce Giants and government subsidies turned Kala Namak Rice into a phenomenal success. And more importantly into an emerging export commodity for Siddharth Nagar. similarly for the products like Shahzar Stone that have an international market. The government of Uttar Pradesh is planning to host an International expose through the Indian MPCs. So that these businesses can take their products to the other side of the globe.
This is just one of the many many examples of how the Uttar Pradesh government is laying the foundation to turn each of its districts into an export Hub. We shall give you a long list of all the ODOP (One District One Product) products and their districts so that you can actually find out what the government is doing. To understand it better and the result of this program has been such that in the last five years Uttar Pradesh witnessed a gradual increase in its exports from 81,000 crores in 2015-16 to 1.2 lakh crores in 2019-20. This is a substantial jump of 48-eight percent and the fun fact is that almost 80 percent of these products which have been exported from the state belong to the ODOP category. Furthermore, the government of Uttar Pradesh has set an ambitious target of exporting three lakh crore worth of goods in the next four years. Now what remains to be seen is how quickly and effectively can they achieve it. And because of this phenomenal success that ODOP has achieved, now the same initiative is being initiated in 16 other states.
so, just like Kalanamak Rice in agriculture, in the textile sector, we have the Kanchipuram Silk from Tamil Nadu, Phulkari from Punjab, and Terry towels from Maharashtra. In the agricultural products, we have kandhamal haldi from Odisha, Vazhakulam Pineapple from Kerala, and many more. this is the story of one district one product initiative.
1. The first thing we need to learn from this article is that having the potential to do something and doing something has a big big difference. 99 of the products and businesses with great potential fail why? because nobody asks to extract the value from that product. in this case, all these products have the potential but unless the Government and the people do something about it, even after a century. We'll be left with futile Tales of India's big potential lesson.
2. Product and Market both are useless unless there is a product Market fit, in this case, the Shazar stone is rare, it's beautiful, and also has a big Market in the Middle East but again unless they are given access to these markets those products will be worthless.
3. Lastly sometimes even though you have a great product it might just need a better name and a better story to resonate with your audience. In this case, we saw that kala namak rice which was a term alien to many, became an iconic product for a huge Market just because it got named Buddha Rice. So branding is super duper powerful, so keep an eye on the name of your product.