Led by Mr. Rattanatay Luanglatbandith, Regional Cooperation Economist of ADB in Thailand, and Mrs. Olivia Sylvia O. Inciong, External Relations Officer for Asia Development Bank (ADB) in Manila, Philippines, a delegation comprising of fourteen journalists from different news agencies and television stations in Laos and Thailand, as well as communication officers of ADB in these two GMS countries visited Mekong Institute (MI) on December 6, 2013. The visit was a part of ADB's third GMS Press Tour, which was held prior to the 19th GMS Ministerial Conference of ADB that was organized in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on December 10-11, 2013.
With the theme of "From Farm to Market: Promoting Value Chains in the Greater Mekong Subregion," the tour aimed to explore the development projects in the GMS, especially in Thailand and Lao PDR. Specifically, the delegation was interested in learning about the benefits received by farmers in these countries from MI's projects that aim at improving of the agricultural value chain in the sub-region. The press group was especially keen to know how these projects have helped farmers through introducing intercropping and other modern farming techniques, the organic certification process, participating in the value chain, and using technology, such as mobile phones, to monitor movements of commodity prices.
The delegation was welcomed by Dr. Buasawan Simmala, Manager of Technical Coordination and Communication Department, and managers of different development programs in MI's residential training center. After listening to the overview about MI's history, and the briefing about activities in capacity building for people in GMS given by managers of different departments, the journalists and photographers and video recorders interviewed their interested program managers. Particularly, Lao National Television interviewed Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Manager of Trade and Investment Facilitation Department, and Dr. Nittana Southesing, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Program Specialist of the same department, while the rest toured the offices of some departments and observed the ongoing Agricultural Extension workshop for Lao and Vietnamese government officers related to agricultural development of two countries organized by the Rural Development Department that aimed to design trainings of trainer workshops for these officials. At the end of the visit, Mrs. Olivia Sylvia O. Inciong expressed her appreciation for the informative presentations and interviews given by management team of MI.