Mekong Institute (MI) organized a one-day National Knowledge Sharing Forum on Food Safety at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on June 30, 2017. The forum gathered twelve MI alumni from both public and private sectors who participated in the first three MI-Food Safety Project (FSP) training programs.
Delivering the welcome remarks, Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, stated that the Forum aimed to provide an opportunity for MI alumni to not only create professional networks and share experience in developing and implementing their respective action plans, but also to discuss the possibility of further improvement in food safety in Vietnam in the next three to five years.
Three representatives from each training program presented the highlights and their reflections on the safe food course they attended. Moreover, two participants, Mr. Huynh Chi Thanh of An Giang Fruit-Vegetables and Foodstuff Joint Stock Company and Mr. Huynh Thanh Loc of Southern Horticultural Research Institute, shared their lessons learnt on implementing their action plans. Mr. Thanh trained 20 farm extension workers on agrichemical and pest control in green soybean and baby corn, while Mr. Loc provided 40 longan farmers with knowledge on integrated pest management.
Through a group discussion session, the participants identified several issues related to food safety in Vietnam, including (a) limited awareness of Vietnamese consumers on food safety in general and organic products in particular; (b) inadequate food safety risk analysis; and (c) pesticide misuse in production. The participants also highlighted the need to develop food safety training programs in schools as well as a national pesticide monitoring program. The identified issues in the Forum are valuable information for MI to determine further supporting activities to enhance food safety in the country.
The National Knowledge Sharing Forum on Food Safety is a component of the MI-FSP supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme. The project aims to develop food safety knowledge and expertise for government agricultural and food safety officials, as well as private sector actors in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam, while assisting them in preparing and implementing appropriate food safety regulations. As of June 2017, the Project has organized three regional training programs on food safety.