Mekong Institute (MI) recently held an inception workshop for the five-year New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP)-supported PROSAFE Project (Promoting Safe Food for Everyone) on September 7, 2018 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Organized to officially launch the project, which takes off from the success of the first phase of the MI-Food Safety Project (MI-FSP), the workshop was attended by 19 senior representatives from key government and private sector agencies involved in promoting food safety in Myanmar, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation (MOALI), Ministry of Commerce (MOC), Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS), Ministry of Planning and Finance (MPF), City Development Committees (CDC), Food Science and Technology Association (FOSTA), Myanmar Food Processors and Exporters Association (MFPEA), and Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association (MFVP).
Speaking during the workshop’s opening, Mr. Tun Tun Naing, Permanent Secretary and Director General of Foreign Economic Relations Department (FERD), MPF as well as MI Council member, briefly introduced MI and its mission to the participants. He expressed his hope that the gathering will provide a better understanding of the challenges faced in promoting food safety in Myanmar and more importantly, the ways through which these can be addressed through the Project’s capacity building training programs and post-training outreach support. He also encouraged every agency to nominate participants who can join MI’s training programs, with careful consideration of the country’s prioritized actions to ensure that they can fully contribute to the promotion of food safety in Myanmar.
Ms. Maria Theresa Medialdia, Director of MI’s Agricultural Development and Commercialization (ADC) Department, thanked the participants for their attendance and explained that the workshop can serve to help Myanmar stakeholders identify specific activities that MI can undertake with the agencies to further promote food safety, and hopefully, lead to demonstrable changes in the next years.
The half-day workshop also presented the achievements and challenges encountered during the first phase of the MI-FSP, and included discussions of the agencies’ priorities and plan of action concerning food safety. One of the major suggestions forwarded was the creation of a project steering committee that will oversee the planning of activities related to food safety promotion in Myanmar in the next five years, as well as more inter-agency events to strengthen cooperation among various organizations.