Publications

View & Download Online Versions of MI Publications

Mekong Institute Publications is available on-line as well as in person.  Please click on the topic from categories below you are interested in.

If you have questions or requests for information on a specific GMS country, please send an email to library@mekonginstitute.org

Departments

Categories


Listing 33 publications.

Planning and Implementing Contract Farmning Operations

Planning and Implementing Contract Farmning Operations

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization, Completion Reports
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute


Interest in contract farming as a mechanism to coordinate linkages between farmers and agribusiness firms has grown significantly in the recent past, largely due to the international trends towards tighter alignment in agri-food supply chains. Because of its large but untapped potential in improving the lives of smallholder farmers, and enhancing agricultural productivity in general, contract farming has become a subject of interest of researchers, agriculturists, development workers, and farmers, among others, all over the world.  With this high demand for knowledge likewise comes the rising need for information-dissemination, technical assistance, and capacity-building programs that intend to educate various professionals concerned in this line of work.

Aiming to build the capacity of Southeast Asian participants in dealing with issues related to facilitating market linkages through contract farming operations, the Rural Development Department of the Mekong Institute (MI), with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), conducted a four-day regional training workshop entitled “Planning and Implementing Contract Farming Operations” at the Mekong River Conference Hall, MI Annex, last Nov. 23-26.

The program was attended by junior to mid-level officials from Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce, Industry and Trade; extension agents; professionals from research and academic institutions; development project personnel; agribusiness private sectors representatives; and farmer group production and marketing leaders. Twenty-five participants, 15 of which were fully-funded by FAO and 10 of which are self-funded, have been selected for this course, each coming from twelve different countries – Cambodia, China, France, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Dr. Carlos da Silva, Senior Agribusiness Economist of FAO-Rome, and Mr. Ralph Houtman, Agribusiness Officer of FAO-Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific, facilitated the whole training workshop. Each of them discussed various topics in contract farming, specifically emphasizing how to plan and set up contract farming operations, as well as the considerations on legal aspects of contract design and reinforcement. After each topic, the participants were given the opportunity to ask questions, which gave way to a fruitful discussion and participatory learning.

The resource persons likewise presented case studies of contract farming in various countries, such as Brazil, which engaged the participants in a critical discourse and healthy debate among each other. After the first two days of lectures and in-house sessions, MI facilitated two field visits on the third day of the program. The participants, along with the resource persons and a number of MI staff, visited the Mitr Phol Sugar Company and a small swine farm performing contract farming with the Charoen Pokphand Group in Khon Kaen. The field speakers in each field sites encouraged the participants to ask and discuss about the actual application of contract farming, which reinforced the lessons taught in the lectures and further widened the participants’ understanding of contract farming in Thailand.

At the fourth and final day of the program, the participants were given an opportunity to have a hands-on experience of analyzing various contracts from around the world, and assess whether or not these contracts pass the FAO standards as discussed by the resource speakers. After presenting the results of their contract analyses, the participants were grouped into four and were asked to brainstorm about the challenges and opportunities for the promotion of buyer-farmer linkages through contract farming in Southeast Asia. Receiving a total weighted average of 4.53 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest) in the participants’ evaluation, the program was considered a success. One of the participants commended the overall quality of the presentations, citing that the lectures were “clear and concise; easy to digest and understand.”


Posthavest Management of Fresh Horticultural Produce

Posthavest Management of Fresh Horticultural Produce

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization, Completion Reports
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute

The program had two parts: (1) practical training on postharvest management in a value chain setting and (2) presentation, evaluation and synthesis of results of the implementation of country action plans. A training package comprising of six modules with topical contents was developed by the resource person and improved by MI’s Rural Development for Sustainable Livelihoods Unit. 

The program was delivered using powerpoint presentations, discussions, hands on exercises on selected postharvest technologies and best practices, and field visits to GAP farm and its packhouse and market outlet as well as to a wholesale vegetable market. The training team distributed handouts and CD of ppt presentations, guide to and results of the practical activities, country presentations and pictorial documentation. Participants analyzed and presented the results and observations of the practical exercises and field visits to stimulate and sharpen their analytical skills on postharvest phenomena and commercial situations for future application in home country and work place. Overall, the training component improved participants’ knowledge.

The presentation and discussion of the country action plan results were similarly enriching. The Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar participants presented their results of the assessment of the handling practices and problems for fresh chili, leaf mustard and grapes, respectively, together with a poster which was evaluated by the participants themselves, MI staff and resource person, for improvement and subsequent translation to country languages prior to posting in strategic places in the country and possible conversion to leaflets for distribution to farmers and other stakeholders. On the other hand, the Vietnam participants shared the experiences and outcomes of the training programs conducted in the north (Hanoi) and south (Ho Chi Minh) of the country. 

Based on the analysis of the questionnaire evaluation and observation of MI facilitators, the objectives of the workshop were achieved. Participants have reflected on the learning experiences during action plan implementation. The participants were able to evaluate and synthesize the modular learning process, as well as to stimulate sharing and networking among them. They were satisfied with the program that they expressed certainty of recommending this program to others in their respective countries.


Sustainable Community Development

Sustainable Community Development

Category: Completion Reports, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute (MI) organized the one-month training course on “
Sustainable Community Development” under the financial support from Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand. Ten Cambodian central and provincial government officials from the Ministry of Rural Development participated in this training program, which was organized from June 29 to July 24, 2015, at the MI Residential Training Center in Khon Kaen Province, Thailand.

The course aimed to a) increase participants’ skills in community analysis; b) enhance participants’ knowledge of concepts and process of community development in Thailand; c) strengthen participants’ skills to facilitate local participation in rural community development; d) improve the participants’ knowledge and ability to plan for strategies and interventions to cope with the community issues in their work location; and e) advance the participants’ ability to employ monitoring  and evaluation concepts and tools to help improve the performance of community development strategies. 

Five interactive modules were conducted to cover the above objectives. The first module was about Concepts of Sustainable Community Development whichgave an overview of trends and interventions as well as problem and potential in different national and regional contexts. Next, the second module was the discussion on Sustainable Community Development: Diagnostic Processes and Tools. These enabled participants to use participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and stakeholder analysis in community development. In the third module, it was focused on Planning and Implementation Framework in Community Development. Planning technique, SWOT analysis, logical framework, monitoring, and evaluation were emphasized in the session. Afterward, the fourth module was explained about the Leadership in Community Development. Participants learned about the role of leader, people-centered development approach, and management in community development. In addition, the fieldwork was designed as the fifth module for the participatory rural appraisal (PRA) fieldwork which was conducted in Surin province where it gave opportunities for participants to learn about the real practice from the Thailand’s village development. In the final week, participants were brought to the indigo-cotton weaving group in Sakhon Nakhon province, and rice cracker group in Khon Kaen province to learn of some successful community-based enterprise (CBE) in Thailand.                 
Two resource persons, Dr. Suchint Simaraks , and Dr. Chamnan Wattanasiri , responsibled for delivering  lectures and facilitating the training program. Multi- learning methods, from theories as well as practices, were employed. Participatory was a core component; discussion were encouraged. The participants produced a planning and fieldwork report at the end of the course.   



The Lower Mekong Food Security Donor Mapping Database Project

The Lower Mekong Food Security Donor Mapping Database Project

Category: Project Completion Reports, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2015
Link: Download

Written by Mekong Institute

On October 1, 2013, the Mekong Institute was awarded a grant by the USAID/RDMA to develop an online platform that tracks and lists all foreign-funded food security and agriculture initiatives in the five countries of the Lower Mekong Region (LMR) Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam

 The project consisted of two phases: Phase I which involved research and mapping of food security and agriculture activities in the region; and Phase II which entailed the set up and design of the database and the conduct of information dissemination activities.

Staff of the Rural Development Department under which the project was maintained carried out Phase I from October 2013 to mid-2014. Alongside this, Phase II began on December 2013 with the hiring of a website and database programmer to set up the system.

On May 2015, the project team completed the official version of the database. It is  currently hosted in an in-house server at Mekong Institute and may be accessed at foodsecurity.mekonginstitute.org. The website was presented to USAID/RDMA and selected donors and development partners on June 29, 2015.

With a grant amounting to USD 108,400, the Lower Mekong Initiative Food  Security Donor Mapping Database project ran from October 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015. 


Sustainable Rural Development

Sustainable Rural Development

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization, Completion Reports
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute

The Training Program on “Sustainable Rural Development” was held on 1-5 June 2015 at Mekong Institute (MI) Residential Training Center in Khon Kaen, Thailand, in collaboration with the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) and the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD). Nineteen officials of Myanmar, Lao PDR and Thailand participated in the program. The training program aimed to enhance the participants’ professional capacity in sustainable rural development strategies and interventions.

The resource person Dr. Suchint Simaraks, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University, Thailand contributed to the design and delivery of the lectures in the program. The training program was composed of three interrelated modules. Module 1 on “Introduction to Sustainable Rural Development Concepts” provides an overview of concept of rural development and trends in rural development policies and interventions in current different context including national, regional and international levels. This module introduced the participants to the integrated and multi-sectoral approach to sustainable rural development which will emphasize the links between actors for development of the rural economy. This approach aims to use all available local economic synergies by strengthening production chains and linking with private sector and developing well-functioning markets.

Module 2 on “Issues Related to Sustainable Rural Development” highlighted different issues, challenges and opportunities related to sustainable rural development including inequity alleviation, good governance, environmental protection and regional cooperation, and risk management. Participants gained a better understanding on how to identify and compare the aforementioned issues, challenges and opportunities in their respective working areas.

Module 3 on “Sustainable Rural Development Interventions and Planning” provided an idea of a good example of rural development intervention which demonstrated success and created positive impacts in the livelihood of the community. During this module, a field visit has been made to a community with rural development and income-generating projects. The visit provided participants with firsthand information and exposed them to new ideas and experiences which may be applied in their work.

The training program is running in an interactive learning fashion. Brainstorming and discussion are carried out in most of the sessions. Concepts, principles and methodologies are explained through Powerpoint presentations to reinforce their learning. A field visit is arranged and discussed after in order to link room sessions to real world situations. Before the field visit, participants prepared an interview guide as a tool to collect information. The participants are divided into groups with different nationalities and mixed gender. After the field visit, participants are asked to discuss and present the lessons learned from the visit and indicate practices which can be applied upon their return.

Beside the contents of the program, top-ten world trends from World Economic Forum, Millennium Goals, world poverty distribution, resources limitation and other topics related to sustainable development are added. Causes of un-sustainability as reflected by inequity, urban-rural interrelationship, ecosystems, agro-ecosystems, urban systems interaction are discussed. Rural sustainability is integrated into the mentioned issues. Ideas for intervention are generated according to each country situation, in which the participants are tasked to prepare tentative action plan for learning and discussion, as well as monitoring and evaluation. The participatory action research is introduced and discussed. Towards the end, participants present their findings from the field visit and make some recommendations.

In conclusion, there are three main perspectives that the participants should assimilate: sustainable rural development that must be environmentally bearable, economically viable and socially equitable; network and network management; and functional relationship with outside organizations.

 


Successful Contract Farming Models in Thailand

Successful Contract Farming Models in Thailand

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization, Completion Reports
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute (MI) conducted a one-week Regional Workshop cum Structured Learning Visit (SLV) on “Successful Contract Farming Models in Thailand” on 18-23 May 2015. Twenty-eight government officials and private sector staff from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam participated in this SLV. 

This workshop cum SLV aimed to raise the awareness of participants to various CF arrangements and cross-border contract farming in the GMS sub-region and its importance in the socio-economic development of agricultural-based communities. The course was held at the MI Residential Training Facility in Khon Kaen Province with structured learning visits in Khon Kaen, Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom and Phetchaburi provinces of Thailand

Two Resource Persons, a) Dr. Pornsri Laurujisawat, Vice President of Charoen Pokphand Group and Visiting Lecturer at Kasetsart University, and 2) Mr. Chainchai Thongsumrit, Freelance Consultant, contributed to the design and delivery of the program with their technical expertise, knowledge, best practices and lessons learned on the principle of contract farming and models, and how to strengthen farmer organization by linking their products to market opportunity.

The workshop cum SLV was comprised of four interrelated modules. Module 1 “Introduction to the Concepts of Contract Farming” introduced participants to the existing concepts and various models of contract farming, and the benefits of contract farming as an instrument in linking smallholder farms to modern value chain.  Module 2 “Strengthening Farmer Organization in Market Accessibility” concentrated on the role, characteristics of farmer organization in linking smallholder farmers to the modern market, approaches of strengthening farmer organization and role of service providers to help smallholder farmer’s work with agribusiness companies. Module 3 on “Case Study of Smallholder Contracted Farmers in Linking to Modern Market from the Experience of Private Sector” equipped participants with some backgrounds on the contract farming arrangement implemented between smallholder farmers and private agribusiness companies in Thailand. Module 4 “Structured Learning Visit (SLV) to Contract Farming Companies and Contracted Farmers” provided opportunities for the participants to interact with contract faming companies, contracted farmers, and concerned government agencies who are directly involved in CF operations. Module 5 “Synthesis and Way Forward” allowed the participants to exchange understanding on certain issues and discuss how some of the knowledge gained can be applied in their own context.

The evaluations conducted throughout the course confirmed that the objectives were achieved and the SLV was successful. Most of the participants were very satisfied with the program as shown in the total average rating by participants on the overall assessment of the program. All participants appreciated the professionalism of the resource persons, organizing team, and supporting staff. 


Structured Learning Visit "Agricultural Planning and Investments in Thailand"

Structured Learning Visit "Agricultural Planning and Investments in Thailand"

Category: Completion Reports, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Pages: 62
Year: 2014

Written by Mekong Institute

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Mekong Institute (MI) agreed to collaborate on a specific project to develop partnership and promote cooperation between the two parties. The six-day Structured Learning Visit (SLV) on "Agricultural Planning and Investments in Thailand" was conducted from 20 to 25 January 2014 for 16 government officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Planning and Investment in Vientiane Capital, Attapeu, Luang Nam Tha and Sayabouli provinces, as well as GIZ Local and International Advisor. The SLV aimed to provide participants with first-hand information and expose them to new ideas on planning and investment in agriculture sector in Thailand.

Two MI facilitators were involved in organizing the program, translating, facilitating discussions, and sharing experiences with the participants. Dr. Apichart Pongsrihadulchai the Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC), was invited to share his knowledge and experiences on agriculture planning systems in Thailand to participants before the field visit. The participants visited six places in four provinces of the Northeastern and Central Thailand namely; Region 4 Office of Agricultural Extension and Development in Khon Kaen province, concerned government offices, Thayang Agricultural Cooperative and a banana farm in Phetchaburi province, Chedi Hak Community Rice Seeds Promotion and Production Center in Ratchaburi province and Taniyama Siam Company and a asparagus farm in Nakhon Pathom province. At the end of the SLV, the participants from each province presented their reflections on what they learned and which practices can be applied upon their return. The participants appreciated most the knowledge gained on crop prioritization and agricultural land zoning systems, which involved many organizations and the use of several analytical tools. They also appreciated and would like to apply the knowledge gained from contract farming and formation and management of cooperatives. They learned how different stakeholders work together to support farmers through cooperatives and contract farming. However, participants also knew that not all knowledge gained from this SLV can be applied in Lao PDR directly due to differences in cultural context and administrative systems. The results of the evaluation conducted throughout the program showed that this SLV was successful both in attaining the program objectives and meeting the participants' expectations. The participants also mentioned that the program was relevant to their work. Most of the participants were fully satisfied with the program as shown in the average rating of "4.81" on the overall satisfaction to the program, using a scale of 1 to 5. However, there were some suggestions for improvement such as extending the duration of the program to 7 days, selecting new sites to reduce traveling time, and allocating more time for open discussion.

The participants also indicated that this SLV enhanced their knowledge and skills, hence would like similar activities on participatory planning system, promotion of safe agriculture, marketing and promotion of products, contract farming system, gender mainstreaming strategy for the government sector, operational system of Thai government, and strategic planning system to enhance GMS and ASEAN connectivity


Structured Learning Visit "Agricultural Planning and Investments in Thailand"

Structured Learning Visit "Agricultural Planning and Investments in Thailand"

Category: Completion Reports, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2014

Written by Mekong Institute

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Mekong Institute (MI) agreed to collaborate on a specific project to develop partnership and promote cooperation between the two parties. The six-day Structured Learning Visit (SLV) on "Agricultural Planning and Investments in Thailand" was conducted from 3 to 8 February 2014 for 18 government officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Planning and Investment from Attapeu, Luang Nam Tha and Sayabouli provinces, as well as GIZ Local and International Advisors. The Structured Learning Visit aimed to provide participants with first-hand information and expose them to new ideas on planning and investment in agriculture sector in Thailand.

Two MI facilitators were involved in organizing the program, translating, facilitating discussions, and sharing experiences with the participants. The participants visited five places in two provinces of Northeastern Thailand, namely; Khon Kaen Governor's Office, Sum Sung Safe and Chemical Free Vegetable Growers Cooperatives, Betagro Group, and Mitr Phu Viang Sugar Mill in Khon Kaen province, as well as Roi-et Agricultural Cooperatives in Roi-et province. At the end of the SLV, the participants presented their reflections on what they learned and which practices can be applied upon their return. The participants appreciated most the knowledge gained on participatory strategic planning system at different levels, which involved many organizations and the use of several analytical tools. They also learned about different approaches in agricultural promotion such as 1) public-private partnership (PPP) at Sum Sung Cooperatives, and 2) contract farming system, which allowed a win-win situation for both the farmers and the companies.

The results of the evaluation conducted throughout the program showed that this SLV was successful both in attaining the program objectives and meeting the participants' expectations. Most of the participants were fully satisfied with the program, in terms of program design and contents, as well as the overall organization and management of the program, as shown in the average rating of 4.50 on the overall satisfaction to the program, using a scale of 1 to 5. However, there were some suggestions for improvement such as visiting some companies which have potential to invest in Lao PDR, and shortening presentation to allocate more time for discussion.

The participants also indicated their needs for similar activities that will enhance knowledge on Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), agricultural extension system, decentralization, and PPP tools.


Agricultural Productivity and Natural Resources' Management: Developing Agricultural Supply Chains in CLMV

Agricultural Productivity and Natural Resources' Management: Developing Agricultural Supply Chains in CLMV

Category: Completion Reports, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2013

Written by Mekong Institute

The 2nd training on Agricultural Productivity and Natural Resources' Management: Focus on Developing Agricultural Supply Chains in CLMV' is under the pilot phase of the "Supporting ASEAN Equitable Economic Development: A project based on policy-oriented research activities and capacity building programs focused on Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV countries)".

The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) co-organized this training in partnership with Mekong Institute (MI) and New Zealand Aid Programme from 18 to 22 February 2013. The five-day intensive training program on "Developing Agricultural Supply Chains in CLMV" is designed as a workshop, including interactive lectures, group discussion, structured learning visits and drafting analytical framework for 26 policy makers as well as 6 representatives of private sector from CLMV who basically work on agricultural productivity and agricultural trade issues.

The overall aim of this training is to reaffirm the importance, basis and scope of (rice) supply chain development to provide the backdrop/framework for assessing Discussion Papers (DPs) on supply chains under preparation for each CLMV member country – overview, structure, dynamics, future prospects and recommendations – subsequently, dove-tailed into a regional DP and Policy Brief for CLMV as a whole.

The transformation of traditional agricultural marketing to new supply chain management, supply chains models and diverse case studies were presented and discussed among participants and regional experts. Situation analysis of Supply Chains issues based on the framework of the ASEAN 2030 Study was drafted by each CLMV country's participants comprising the following components:

(i) a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis for the agricultural supply chains in each country;

(ii) a set of aspiration targets for the seed industry to reach by the year 2015 and 2030 at national level;

(iii) the identification of the primary and secondary challenges the countries will be facing in fulfilling their aspirations; and (iv) a set of policy options each country will need to consider introducing to address the challenges. Apart from case studies from CLMV and Asian countries, this training program arranged structured learning visits that enabled all participants and experts to crystallize the supply chains concepts learned during class work with practices from farm to table in selected Thailand case studies.

The discussion points of the training that should be clarified and well defined before any policy making are;

  • The major challenges to promote agricultural supply chains are similar to the seed industry development which is; limitation of infrastructure development and environment for investment is not supportive for investors as yet. Hence, there is the need for public-private partnership to cope with these challenges.
  • Regarding the old green revolution and the new ‘doubly green revolution', a key challenge is how to recommend to policy makers or policy options to stop the improper practices of local producers, especially in the misuse of agro-chemicals in order to respond to global markets that are now increasingly demanding organic or green agricultural products.
  • It is interesting to examine the production capacity to serve the global supply chain. In terms of electronics industry, macro policy is important to focus on factor (company) and find the way to support producers to absorb the technology and assist them to help themselves. In terms of agriculture, should also concentrate on any concrete initiatives to support producers or stakeholders along the chains to access global supply chains, for instance economic zones could be one model to apply for clustering the agricultural supply chain.
  • CLMV countries are facing similar problem of investors prefer to deal with larger farms, while in the production side they are largely fragmented farms and it would cost a lot to coordinate them. In the case of Philippines, company complains about high cost of investment while producers complain low price of product. What they did in fact in the Philippines, they increase the price but they left maintenance of the road to the small growers. Also the government addresses this coordination issue to facilitate both levels in the chain.
  • In SME supply Chains development, the market needs to be identified before production plan. However, in rural areas it is difficult to identify market and support them in terms of technology. Before identifying the type of product to promote as SME cluster, there is the need to study the market and also conduct the need assessment in the area. Chambers of Commerce should be active to identify the list for agricultural traders or producers. The objective of forming cluster is to identify who are producing what and where, in order to collectively organize them together to access the bigger markets in each CLMV countries.

Learning Methods on Supply Chain in this training:

  • To complement and supplement our study, we provided insights surrounding other country's (China, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Thailand and further field) and region's (GMS) as well as international agencies' experiences, successes and exciting on-going initiatives, involving an array of crops and organic products by a select group of resource persons.
  • There were also 2 field trips:
  • Central Group CSR vegetables project -Central is a huge Thai conglomerate – with huge retailing presence (Central, Robinson, Tops, Big C and Quick Service Restaurants (GSR) like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Mister Donut). We will see vegetables supply chain (involving small growers) – from production, processing and linked up to modern retail outlets, TOPS supermarket, all in one day
  • Betagro Group -fully integrated poultry (layers and broilers) and swine supply chains involving animal feed, animal health & vaccines, processing into various value-added products.

The major outputs and outcomes of this training are:

  1. The National Level Studies will be coordinated and dovetail into a Regional Level Discussion Paper and Policy Brief on the development and management of agri-food supply chains focusing on rice in this Pilot Phase in CLMV countries, with the underlying rationale of using supply chains to facilitate agriculture as engine of growth to drive overall inclusive and sustainable development of the region.
  2. The Regional Level reports will focus on (a) developing comprehensive rice supply chains, and (b) managing rice supply chains effectively to support regional trading networks and food security – increasingly involving border-trade and GMS orientation. It will examine (i) transformation of rice supply chains and connectivity , (ii) rise of supermarkets (iii) value-adding along supply chains; (iii) policy issues; (iv) country comparisons; and (v) regional and global considerations (including trans-regional border trade). It also identifies effective ways for developing and managing rice supply chains in CLMV, including:
  • comparing and analyzing the set of maps of the rice supply chains and trading networks, as well as trans-border trade or supply networks for each CLMV country;
  • identifying surplus and deficit areas and their extent within each country and between countries with a view of facilitating cross-border trade and investments;
  • examine the development of supermarkets and the extent which the key stakeholders in the supply chain have benefited and areas where marginalization have occurred ;
  • consider issues and weaknesses (and strengths) along the respective rice supply chains that are germane to all the CLMV countries and those which are peculiar to specific members; and
  • coming up with a set of policy issues that need to be addressed holistically, complete with accompanying recommendations.

Improving Food Quality and Safety through Good Agricultural and Postharvest Practices in Fresh Produce

Improving Food Quality and Safety through Good Agricultural and Postharvest Practices in Fresh Produce

Category: Completion Reports, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2013

Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute was commissioned by the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP) to conduct a ten-day training course on "Improving Food Quality and Safety through Good Agricultural and Postharvest Practices in Fresh Produce" from 20 – 31 May 2013. Twenty-seven government officials and private sector staff from Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam participated in the training program. The course objective is to improve participants' understanding of the importance of Good Agricultural (GAP) and Postharvest Practices in promoting product quality and safety of fruits, vegetables and meats. The course was held at the MI Residential Training Facility in Khon Kaen Province with four structured learning visits in Khon Kaen and Nakhon Pathom Provinces of Thailand.

The training course was designed and delivered using modular training approach, of which, all participants went through three progressive stages: a) "Learn to do" – training on concepts, techniques and tools; b) "Do to learn" – participants are required to apply what they have learned in their work assignment with proper coaching from assigned advisors; and c) "Share to learn" – participants will have an opportunity to present their group works/findings and share their learning experiences and lessons learned.

Two Resource Persons, a) Mr. John Campbell, the Quality Systems Coordinator from Plant and Food Research, New Zealand, and 2) Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, the Program Manager of the Mekong Institute, contributed to the design and delivery of the lectures in the training course.

The training course was comprised of four interrelated modules. Module 1 on "Introduction to Product Quality and Safety" illustrated that assurance of good quality and safety of agricultural products was a big challenge and could spell the difference in the countries' ability to penetrate foreign markets and in gaining the trust and confidence of consumers. Module 2 on "Good Agricultural Practices: Nature and Importance" introduced the importance of GAP in ensuring product quality and food safety of agricultural produce. The principles of GAP and its components were discussed and participants shared about the status of GAP development and application in CLMV countries and learn from the experiences of Thailand. Module 3 on "Postharvest Handling and Marketing for Food Safety and Produce Quality" introduced the participants to the importance of postharvest handling and management and gave an overview on the postharvest losses in developed and developing countries. The application of the agrochemical was also discussed during this module. Module 4 on "ASEAN GAP Inspection and Certification" described the importance of GAP certification and the associated procedures in establishing a national inspection and certification body.

Four structured learning visits were organized for the participants in this course; their understanding of the program's contents was enhanced through different appreciation visits and interaction with enterprises at Sum Sung Safety and Chemical Free Cooperatives and Betagro Company in Khon Kaen Province and Huai Phra GlobalGAP Farm and SWIFT Company in Nakhon Pathom Province of Thailand.

The evaluations conducted throughout the course confirmed that the objectives were achieved and the learning program was successful. Most of the participants were very satisfied with the program as shown in the total average rating by participants on the usefulness of the learning program at 3.81 and the overall assessment at 3.89. Using a scale of 1 to 5, this indicated that participants found the training program "useful" and were "satisfied" with the program contents and overall training management. All participants appreciated the professionalism of the resource persons, organizing team, and supporting staff. They committed to complete their action plans before the Synthesis and Evaluation Workshop which will be held on 13-15 November 2013.