The second regional training program under the Food Safety Project (FSP), a joint initiative by Mekong Institute (MI) and the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP), kicks off today at the Mekong Institute Residential Training Center. The training course, which focuses on “Assuring Food Safety through Pest and Agrichemical Management”, is being held from May 15-26, 2017.
The two-week training aims to enhance the participants’ knowledge and technical capacity to make decisions on the sustainable use of agrichemicals and integrated pest management (IPM) practices, as well as understand other issues related to promoting food safety and sustainable agriculture in the region.
Joined by a total of 28 participants, the course is designed to benefit a diverse group of regional food safety stakeholders, including representatives from ministries in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) who are responsible for regulating and monitoring agrichemical use and implementing projects related to food safety at the production level. The training also targets private companies in CLMV who are interested in adopting food safety practices along the supply chain, as well as farmer leaders who promote IPM and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to fellow vegetable and fruit growers.
Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, spoke on behalf of MI Executive Director Dr. Watcharas Leelawath. She welcomed the CLMV participants to the training program and thanked NZAP for their incessant support to MI’s initiatives. She also underlined that the course focuses on proper pest and agrichemical management at the production stage.
Providing more context to the issue, Ms. Medialdia further elaborated that the widespread and excessive use of agrichemicals is a problem faced by all CLMV countries, but more notably by Vietnam and just recently, by Lao PDR. Finally, she encouraged all participants to use this time to build a regional network of pest and agrichemical management professionals and experts.
The training program is the second within a series of training programs to be organized under the MI-FSP, an 18-month initiative providing training and support services for CLMV government agricultural and food safety officials, as well as various private sector actors. It aims to develop their food safety knowledge and expertise, and assist them in preparing and implementing appropriate food safety regulations and standards for select value chains and market outlets both in-country and outside.