Completed Projects

Executive Summaries for a Selection of Completed Projects

3rd International Seminar and Business Matching

3rd International Seminar and Business Matching

Category: Project Completion Reports, Trade and Investment Facilitation
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute (MI) in cooperation with the provincial government of Khon Kaen province successfully organized the 3rd International Seminar and Business Matching on “Enhancing Silk Sector’s Competitiveness in Technology and Market through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” on September 9-10, 2015 at Pullman Raja Orchid Hotel and Convention Center, Khon Kaen. The event aimed to introduce the best practices of CSR and provided a platform to showcase exquisite silk products and identify opportunities to engage with private companies for CSR outreach programs, as well as to enhance the capability and develop the potential of silk businesses in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), while sharing new technology of silk production systems and innovation of green supply chain. The seminar also incorporated a business matching activity with the goal of strengthening and expanding the network among silk entrepreneurs and businesses in some Northeastern provinces of Thailand, India, Japan and other GMS countries namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and China. The ultimate goal of this event was to equip the participating companies and communities with tools and knowledge to better compete in Asia and the world market.  Moreover, the organizer of the event also developed a database of silk business owners-www.asiasilkbiz.com for business networking, to further enhance the competitiveness of silk business owners. The Asia Silk Alliance (ASA) was officially formed during the events with the discussion on the way forward of ASA that facilitating business networks and long-term cooperation among silk producers and exporters in Asia countries.  Upon this, the ASA Declaration was announced, agreed and singed among the representatives from Cambodia, China. Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The leader of ASA is India, with the witness of the governor of provincial government of Khon Kaen, The Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture (QSDS) and MI (Thailand) for signing of the Declaration. 


The 3rd International Seminar and Business Matching attracted a total of 207 participants, comprising of major silk brand owners and manufacturers, SME silk production groups, exporters and importers, intermediaries of silk products, leaders from silk-related government agencies, CSR experts and organizations, silk technologists and other entrepreneurs from different provinces of Thailand such as Roi-et, Khon Kaen, Mahasarakham, Kalasin, NakornRatchasima, Petchaboon, Chiang Mai, Mukdahan, Pitsanulok and Bangkok. 


Ten speakers were invited to present during the two-day event. They were from Thailand’s Department of Sericulture, CSR Asia, ASEAN CSR network, silk manufacturers and exporters, designers and some other GMS organizations. These experts shared experience and knowledge on the following four aspects:

 • Technology, innovation and silk market development

 • Opportunities for CSR initiatives and CSR practices in the silk sector

• CSR- related success stories

The business matching activity, both for CSR and silk sector matching has brought the opportunities for silk businesses in the region. Many possible cooperation and partnership were identified during the event. The participants exchanged the information on their business, various production technique and channels of distribution, as well as CSR initiative projects and activities.  Product samples were given to both up-and-down stream entrepreneurs. Some tangible partnership has led to business negotiations and deals.

The silk business database - www.asiasilkbiz.com has drawn interests of the participants to the event as they can always search for seminar materials and other participant information. Registered members can also use the website as a platform for sharing and exchanging information and possibly fostering their relationship and business. Promotion \of this website and the database would result in greater coverage of silk businesses in this region. 

The 3rd International Seminar and Business Matching yielded a satisfactory result. The evaluation has indicated that the international seminar and business matching activity were successful. The participants’ responses showed that they were neutrally satisfied about the event with a rate of 3.01 out of 4. The event scores in terms of effectiveness ranged from 3.07 to 3.25, indicating that the seminar was fully effective. Regarding the results on meeting its objectives, the event was scored between 3.11 to 3.31. Moreover, when compare this year’s results to the previous year, 40% increases in every part of the evaluation. 

However, recommendations and suggestions were provided for further improvement based on three aspects; the event, E-sarn silk sector and Asia Silk Alliance (ASA). It is summarized as followings;

• The international Event: Two models of the event next year were suggested. Firstly, on the theme of cultural tourism for silk sector in Asia with site visits. Secondly is Asia Silk Trade Fair or Asia Silk Expo 2016 which Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) will be one of the main sponsors of the event.

• E-sarn Silk Sector. Based on Porter’s five force analysis, it is found that E-sarn silk market is very attractive for competitors to compete for market share, therefore E-sarn silk entrepreneurs are required to emphasize on the bargaining for suppliers, also keep developing business strategic skills such as production standards, marketing and business communications.

• Asia Silk Alliance (ASA). There are two phases of ASA road map; the introduction stage, the 1st phase of 6 months to 1 year plan, MI will facilitate ASA in working plan, database management and website at the introduction stage. Khon Kean provincial government and other units/ organizations introduced will take part to support ASA in the long-term working process. 


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. 


International Seminar Cum Business Matching on Silk Development

International Seminar Cum Business Matching on Silk Development

Category: Trade and Investment Facilitation, Project Completion Reports
Year: 2014

Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute (MI) in cooperation with the provincial government of KhonKaen province successfully organized an “International Seminar Cum Business Matching on Silk Development” on September 12-13, 2014, Centara Hotel and Convention Center, KhonKaen. The event aimed at enhancing the capability and fulfilling the potential of silk businesses in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), while sharing points of view on global trends of silk products. The seminar also incorporated a business matching activity aiming at strengthening and expanding the network among silk entrepreneurs and businesses in some Northeastern provinces of Thailand, India and other countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and China. The ultimate goal of this event was to equip participating companies and communities with tools and knowledge to compete better in both ASEAN and the world market.


The International Seminar Cum Business Matching yields a satisfactory result reflected by the high-scored evaluation and successful business matching. The following parts are evaluation results, session summaries, and measurable results of the business matching activity.


The International Seminar Cum Business Matching attracted a total of 212 participants, including major silk brand owners and manufacturers, SME silk production groups, exporters and importers, intermediaries of silk products, leaders from silk-related government and international agencies, academia and other entrepreneurs from provinces such as Roi-et, KhonKaen, Mahasarakham, Kalasin, NakornRatchasima, Petchaboon, Chiang Mai, Mukdahan, Pitsanulok and Bangkok. The event aimed at gaining insight into needs and support required to furthering development of silk producers and exporters. Moreover, facilitating business networks and long-term cooperation among silk business owners in the ASEAN countries and beyond was one of the key objectives. The organizer of the event also wished to develop a database of silk business owners for business networking, to further enhance the competitiveness of silk business owners in ASEAN.


Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along the GMS North-South Economic Corridor (R3A & R3B)

Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along the GMS North-South Economic Corridor (R3A & R3B)

Category: Project Completion Reports, Trade and Investment Facilitation
Year: 2014

Written by Mekong Institute


With support from the ASEAN China Cooperation Fund, the Mekong Institute implemented the one-year project on ”Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along the GMS North-South Economic Corridor (R3A & R3B)” from July 2014 to June 2015. The project comprised of three components with series of capacity development activities, which included two modular trainings on ‘Business Research and Information Management’ and ‘Trade and Events Promotion’, and one ‘structured learning visit cum business matching’. A synthesis and evaluation workshop was conducted in May 2015 to evaluate the project results and to assess possibility of another phase of the NSEC project. 
The aim of the project is to promote business linkage and information network among members of provincial and local Chambers of Commerce and Industries (CCI) and Business Associations (BAs) along the North-South Economic Corridor – Route 3A and 3B (NSEC R3A&B). The NSEC connects four Mekong countries namely Yunnan Province of P.R. China, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Thailand. The ultimate goal of this project is to support inclusive and more equitable development on the NSEC. With regard to performance against the annual plan, all scheduled activities from July 2014- June 2015 have been implemented and the objective has been achieved. 


Certified Logistics Master Phase 1

Certified Logistics Master Phase 1

Category: Project Completion Reports, Trade and Investment Facilitation
Year: 2014

Written by Mekong Institute

With support from the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund, Mekong Institute (MI) is implementing a three-year project on ‘Certified Logistics Master’. MI has completed the first phase of the project from July 2015 to September 2015.The phase I of the project comprised of four components for capacity development purpose; including setting the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) logistical service standard, curriculum development, modular training and certification, and localization of core training. 

The overall objective of the project is to improve cross-border and transshipment logistics services through capacity development and accreditation of local Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) in the GMS economic corridors. The project also intended to decrease cross border logistics cost, improve quality and timely services of local logistics service providers, and integrate local logistics providers into the sub-regional, regional and global logistics chains. As per the activity, all the scheduled activities have been successfully implemented. 



The Compilation of the Atlas of Geographic Names on the Channel of the Lancang-Mekong River

The Compilation of the Atlas of Geographic Names on the Channel of the Lancang-Mekong River

Category: Completion Reports, Project Completion Reports, Trade and Investment Facilitation
Pages: 34
Year: 2014

Written by Mekong Institute

P. R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand are signatories to the 2000 Agreement for Coordinated Operation and Development of International Navigation on the Lancang-Mekong River and are all members of the Joint Committee on Coordination of Commercial Navigation on the Mekong-Lancang River (JCCCN), set up under the 2000 agreement. English is the adopted common language for communication in international navigation and commerce on the Lancang-Mekong, which borders all four agreement countries and also runs through two of them. Up to the present, the names Romanisation has not followed any standard, resulting in a variety of spelling and pronunciation of geographic names in English text or speech. This can give rise to uncertainty in communication involving Romanised geographic names, and present challenges in two types of situations: i) where swift action is required, such as a coordinated response to an urgent threat to life or property in navigation, or ii) where, in international trade in goods or services and related financing, effective and efficient decision making needs to be made on the basis of presented documents. The project to create a standard system of Romanised geographic names on the Lancang-Mekong is expected to reduce the uncertainty in communication and facilitate i) development of cross-border transport of goods and passengers; ii) related trade, tourism and financing; and iii) a cooperative development of commercial navigation on the Upper Mekong, all of which make up the core objectives of JCCCN.


Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along East-West Economic Corridor

Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along East-West Economic Corridor

Category: Project Completion Reports, Trade and Investment Facilitation
Year: 2012
Link:Download

Written by Mekong Institute

The Project “Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along East-West Economic Corridor” was implemented by Mekong Institute from January 2011 to December 2012, in collaboration with ADB Thailand Residential Mission and Private Sector Development Unit of Trade and Investment Promotion Division of UNESCAP. The project was funded by the Japan Government through Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), ASEAN Secretariat. The aim of this private sector development is to promote inter and intra trade and investment in and between 11 provinces along East-West Economic Corridor encompassing Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.

 

EWEC was chosen for this development intervention because it is the least developed corridor in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).It covered 11 commercial nodes along EWEC. They are Myewaddy, Maesot, Phitsanulok, KhonKaen, Kalasin, Mukdahan, Savannakhet, Dansawanh, Dong Ha (including Lao Bao Special Economic Zone) , Hue and Da Nang (including three border nodes: Mae Sot – Myewaddy, Mukdahan – Savannakhet, and Dan Sawanh – Lao Bao)

 

Major activities carried out in the last two years include: a) Executive Seminars/Policy Dialogues, Structured Learning Visits and networking events for Decision Makers and Exporters; b) a series of capacity building programs (modular training approach) on priority areas related to trade and investment in the sub-region for Core Group of key staff of Chambers of Commerce and Industries (CCIs) and SME associations; and c) Business information system, database and exchange.

 

Major outcomes of this project are:

 

1.      EWEC Business Network. The project is very successful in promoting business network among SMEs and members of CCI along EWEC. This is evidenced by the establishment of EWEC Business Network; regular exchange visits and joint business events among the CCIs; an annual EWEC Trade Fair which commenced in 2012 hosted by Danang CCI and, for 2013, to be hosted by KhonKaen CCI.

2.      EWEC Biz Database. This Biz Database is the outcome of a modular training program on Conducting Business Research and Market Intelligence. It was developed jointly with 11 Provincial Chambers of Commerce and Industries and contains provincial profiles and investment potentials of every province on EWEC and over 1200 company profiles. The database is being updated by the respective CCIs.

3.      Improved Websites of GMS Business Forum and CCIs. The project team provided training to and worked with the GMS Business Forum and selected Chambers of Commerce in improving their respective websites and install summary page in English.

4.      EWEC Product Displays and Information Center. Three EWEC Product Displays and Information Centers (PDIC) have been set up, one at KhonKaen CCI, one at KhonKaen Airport arrival hall and one at Savannakhet CCI. The PDIC provide opportunity for SMEs of EWEC to display their products and provide information about their services.

5.      EWEC Private Sector Development Repository System. The project team compiled all documents generated by three private sector development projects, i.e. a) ADB Thailand Resident Mission project on “Strengthening Local Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIs) along the East West Economic Corridor to Promote Trade, Investment and Value Chains”, b) UNESCAP Research and Policy Recommendations on “Business for Development: Capacity building of SMEs in the Greater Mekong Subregion for their effective penetration into regional and global markets” and this project. The archives are placed at MI GMS Resource Center and are available for public in hard copies and electronic files. It comprises research papers, manuals, training packages, reports and projects information. MI Trade and Investment Glossary (MITIF) developed under this project are also made available at this corner.

 

To continue to provide technical support and backstopping to CCIs and Provincial authorities on EWEC after the project end, MI has contracted one consultant – Trade and Investment Expert to assist EWEC Biz Network to: a) conduct cross-border value chain analysis and mapping of three commodities:  Glutinous rice of Nakhon Phnom; Khammoune, Arabica coffee of Lao Bao – Dansavanh; and  maize of Myewaddy – Maesot; b) organize, in collaboration with Khon Kaen Governor Office and Khon Kaen CCI “EWEC Silk Executive Seminar and Investor Forum”; and c) provide technical support and backstopping to CCIs on trade and investment opportunities.

 

The final evaluation results showed that the project is highly relevant, effective, efficient but too small and two short duration to create clear impact. Lessons learned from and good practices of this project are being replicated and expand to Southern Economic Corridor and North-South Economic Corridor of the Mekong Subregion. This initiative also caught the attention of development partners and as a result, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has agreed to provide multi-year funding for a regional development project on EWEC.


Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce  Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along East-West  Economic Corridor (EWEC)

Enhancing Provincial and Local Chambers of Commerce Capacities in Trade and Investment Facilitation along East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC)

Category: Project Completion Reports, Trade and Investment Facilitation
Year: 2012

Written by Mekong Institute

A. Principle Conclusions

(1) Relevance: Satisfactory

  • The project was by any measure very relevant for the EWEC region and its direct beneficiaries – the provincial and local CCIs and business associations. The under-utilization of the available infrastructure and the reform measures already put in place along the route by the private sector, resulting in low level of trade and investment activities, having little impact on poverty reduction and socio-economic development in the EWEC, poses a serious need to external interventions by champions organizations like MI, as well as funding support by donor agencies.
  • TA to provincial and local CCIs and BAs would help to turn them into ‘catalyst’, or ‘agent for changes’ in the context of a private sector which is not very well-developed. MI and the project have chosen to focus whatever resources available on building the capacity of a narrow core group instead of spreading thin to cover all the vast needs and demands of the region.
  • The needs analysis done at the onset of the project was very comprehensive and the project was well-designed with choice of activities excellently made.
  • The type of activities undertaken within the framework of the Project is within the core competencies of MI: capacity development and regional networking. The impact that the Project wishes to bring about – more trade and investment in the EWEC region – is also within the priority areas of MI, which is regional cooperation and integration, socially as well as economically.

(2) Effectiveness: Satisfactory

  • The project has been quite effective in building the capacity of various individuals as well as institutions (CCIs, BAs, etc) along the EWEC in terms of trade and investment. There is also a strong feeling of goodwill towards MI throughout the region for initiating this project as well as other activities that the Institute has done so far which benefited these stakeholders.
  • All the targeted outputs were delivered as planned, all activities completed while some extra activities was also added to complement those originally designed in achieving the intended outcome of the project.
  • The executive seminar undertaken within the framework of the project has not been able to bring about any policy outcomes as intended. We should, nevertheless, appreciate that it has been successful in raising awareness and disseminating information about business opportunities and development potentials along the EWEC, as well as cultivating the necessary political will for pushing forward the sub-regional cooperation and integration agenda.
  • The SLVs were extremely appreciated for their effectiveness in developing business networking and promoting lesson-learning and replication of best practices and successful business models.
  • The training content of the project is considered very useful by all stakeholders, due to the relevance of knowledge and skills delivered, as well as the quality of trainers and the training approach adopted by MI. We, however, have doubt about the “training-of-trainers” approach of the project since we see that there is a lack of structured mechanism for sharing of knowledge and skills by the trainees at MI with their colleagues once they are back to office.
  • The EWEC Website and Database is also an unique tool developed by MI and the project. Though it remains low key at the moment, it has the potential of becoming a much stronger tool in the future, once some adjustments are made and once the promotion of the website and database itself is more strategically made. 

(3) Efficiency: Satisfactory

  • The project has a good steering and implementation structure. However, the role of the Project Steering Committee could be strengthened. Reporting should be done on the basis of the LogFrame which has been excellently drawn up during the designing phase of the project, to focus more on performance and outcome-reporting rather than activity and output-reporting as of now.
  • The absence of “micro-management” by the donor became an incentive for MI to choose the best cost solutions for project activities, which enable savings, result in surplus of funds which were subsequently used for additional activities.
  • The efficiency of delivering technical assistance by the project is mixed. The biggest problems include: (i) coordination with other projects led by ADB and UNESCAP, (ii) the selection of participants for project activities, and (iii) language barrier due to low English proficiency.
  • Project funds were efficiently allocated, used and managed. 

 

 

(4) Impact/Sustainability: Satisfactory

  • The project has been able to build the capacity of members of CCIs and BAs, as well as entrepreneurs in the region, as well as provide useful working tools for these institutions, which would be sustainable by themselves.
  • The impact of the project on trade and investment facilitation and socio-development in the EWEC region remains anecdotal and limited since it is just a pilot initiative to test the water; while needs and demands in this regard of the region is vast. Such impacts should only be expected in the longer run and requires additional resources and activities.
  • The project is not yet sustainable by itself, and the role of MI is still essential but there is much “buy-in” of the stakeholders. Therefore, any future programme and initiative could expect more contributions from them to increase local ownership as well as partnership.

B. Key Recommendations

  1. Expand and deepen the current project into a bigger programme (with at least 3-5 years’ term) which would provide hands-on and direct support to members of the private sector in the EWEC region, still using the CCIs and BAs as the bridge. This programme should be designed in consultation with other relevant actors such as the ADB, UNESCAP as early as possible.
  2. Recognizing that the private sector is not a heterogeneous group, the new programme should try to develop tailor-made support/solutions which cater to the needs of the respective groups or stakeholders, for example, the SMEs, the farmers’ groups, household businesses. 
  3. Capitalize on the deliverables, outputs produced under the current project such as the EWEC Website and Database, the SME Product Display and Information Centre, as well as other training materials.
  4. Explore new approaches in the new programme to boost trade and investment activities in the region, instead of only facilitating trade and investment. For example, MI could think about starting/administering some sort of Business Challenge Fund to support proposals which are about innovative business models which could contributing to trade and investment promotion along the EWEC, or which create employment and ease poverty.
  5. Buttress in contributions from the private sector and institutions such as big CCIs in the region to increase ownership and partnership.
  6. Selection of industries and sectors to be included in the new programme should be done on the basis of competitiveness mapping, to ensure focus. Furthermore, in such industries, the narrower focus should be on developing value chain and consortia/clusters.
  7. If MI/the new programme would like to continue support the capacity development of CCIs along the EWEC, it should focus on strategic institutional aspects and sustainability aspects of such activities, to avoid continuing to build the capacity of individuals.
  8. Build in advocacy elements/activities to address policy bottlenecks at the high level (i.e. central governments of GMS countries) in the new programme.
  9. Undertake more awareness raising and information dissemination activities regarding the legal and policy framework concerning cross-border trade and investment activities, for example the CBTA, the ASEAN Common Effective Preferential Tariff Scheme (CEPT) or the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), etc.

C. Synthesis and Evaluation Workshop

Cross-cutting recommendations made during the workshop (organised on the 17th of December, 2012 at the Mekong Institute) for the activities to be carried out in a proposed 2nd phase of the project include:

  1. Further training and capacity building activities for CCIs’ staffs as well as member enterprises related to specific skills and specific industries.
  2. Business matching events with regard to specific products and industries, which could potentially be transformed into EWEC annual trade fairs or tourism fairs.
  3. EWEC database to be further developed in the direction of self-sustainability since this is recognized as an important tool to ensure business networking within the EWEC region as well as a bridge to reach to traders and investors (companies) from outside the region.
  4. Structured learning visits for specific studies to further promote intra-regional and extra-regional networking.
  5. Advocacy and consultation with central governments of all EWEC countries to be undertaken so as to highlight the problems and seek political support for developing the region.
  6. Support (financial as well as institutional) to be provided for start-up ventures along the EWEC region such as EWEC bus lines or organic farming groups.
  7. Market research to be undertaken vis-à-vis specific sectors/industries so as to help the stakeholders identify and make the best use of business opportunities.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FOR  INTEGRATING CLMV ECONOMIES INTO AEC

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FOR INTEGRATING CLMV ECONOMIES INTO AEC

Category: Trade and Investment Facilitation, Project Completion Reports
Year: 2012

Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute has been implementing the regional project entitled “Capacity Development Programme for Integrating CLMV Economies into AEC” since February 2012. The project aims to promote the development of agricultural and SMEs sectors of the new ASEAN members, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam, collectively known as CLMV. Farmers, small-scale producers and SMEs are the ultimate targeted beneficiaries of this project. Implementation strategies employed under this project are a) moving farmers from subsistence to commercial farming by introducing GAP and Postharvest Practices and promoting crop diversification and contract farming to raise incomes and reduce risks; b) promoting non-farm employment by promoting value-adding agriculture processing activities and the development of SMEs in rural areas; and c) promoting essential trade facilitation and business development services that increase access to good practices, markets, information, finance, and reduce transaction costs.


The project employs modular training approach of which each training course comprises three progressive phases: a) Learn to do – a training course cum structured learning visit, b) Do to learn – participants are required to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in their work with technical assistance and back-up support from MI trainers and resource persons and c) Share to learn – participants who have successfully implemented their action plans during the “Do to learn” phase will be invited to a synthesis and evaluation workshop to share their lessons learned and best practices and provide feedback to MI to improve the training program in the future.

Progress Report
In 2012, key outputs can be summarized as follows:


Component A: a) One modular training program on Good Agriculture Practices for 28 participants - 25 from CLMV and 3 from Thailand and China on cost-sharing basis; b) Youth Camp on Modern Farming for 39 agriculture students from 4 universities of CLMV; c) Regional workshop on Developing Viable Seed Industry for 35 participants from CLMV – in collaboration with ADB Institute.


Component B: a) Workshop cum Structured Learning Visit (SLV) on “Cross-border Value Chains of Cabbage from Lao PDR to Thailand” for 18 Lao participants from Champasack Province; and b) Regional Workshop cum Structured Learning Visit on Successful Contract  Farming Models and Cross-Border Trade for 33 participants from CLMV.


Component C: a) One modular training program on SME Cluster Development and Export Consortia for 24 CLMV participants and 8 Thai and Chinese participants – on a cost-sharing basis; and b) Five action researches on forming SME cluster and value chain integration in CLMV and Thailand and one policy brief.


Component D: a) Twenty three participants completed a ToT course on Trade Negotiation and FTAs; b) FTA guide for SME exporters developed.


Component E: a) Eight young researchers completed the first six-month training cycle of Young GMS Professional Program and 10 young researchers of the second batch are currently doing their learning projects at MI and expected to complete their training in April 2013; and b) Twelve masters’ degree students have successfully completed their research requirements under MINZAS and 10 research papers have been publishes as MI Research Working Papers.


Two planned activities could not be implemented in 2012 due to time constraints, i.e. one modular training cycle on Business Research and one Multi-stakeholder forum on GAP and Postharvest Practices. These two activities will be implemented in 2013.


2013 Workplan

The following activities have been planned for 2013
 
A. Improved Agriculture Productivity: Key milestones under this component include one modular training cycle on GAP and Postharvest Practices; four action researches on GAP & Postharvest Practices; a youth camp for forty young smart farmers on modern farming system; and an annual forum to promote regional cooperation and network on GAP and Improved Postharvest Practices.


B. Improved cross-border contract farming management policies and good contract farming practices. Key milestones for this component include a Structured Learning Visit for of Contract Farming practitioners (farmers groups, contractors and government officials) to good contract farming practices; field studies on cross-border value chains mapping and analysis on East-West and Southern Economic Corridors (EWEC and SEC); and field research/case studies on how smallholder farmers can benefit from contract farming and regional and global value chain integration.

C. Increased cross-border SME clusters and improved export network. Key milestones are one modular training program on SME cluster development and export consortia; one modular training cycle on Business Research and Market Intelligence; and a GMS Biz Network and Investor forum. 


D. Increased FTA utilization by SMEs. Key milestones are one ToT program on FTA procedures; one workshop on trade policy development and trade negotiation; and Web portal development to facilitate information sharing and community of practices among public and non-state stakeholders on FTAs and related issues.


E. Enhanced GMS-focused research capacity of young GMS professionals. This year, 11 young GMS professionals will be participating in a six-month training and field research cycle. Twelve master degree students will also be recruited, under MI-New Zealand Ambassador Scholarship Scheme, to participate in a one-year research development cycle which comprises of training in research methodology, conducting field research as part of their theses requirements and participating in a research round table meeting.


The 2nd Mekong Forum will be organized on July 11-12 2013 in collaboration with International Institute for Trade and Development, back-to-back with MI Council Meeting. The objective of this forum is to provide a neutral arena for development practitioners and decision makers from public, private and civil society to have open dialogue and exchange ideas on how to promote equitable and inclusive growth in the GMS. The theme of this Mekong Forum is “Towards more inclusive and equitable growth, GMS”. The results of several researches under this NZAP project will be presented and deliberated at this forum.

Challenges faced during 2012 implementation included a) Limited English proficiency among provincial government officials, SME and farmers leaders, b) Lack of supportive environment for participants to implement their action plan upon return to their original agencies, and c) Limited absorptive capacity of local partners acquiring and practicing participatory-centered training method and in localizing training packages.

To overcome the challenges, MI conducted two baseline surveys and capacity building needs assessments in the last quarter of 2012 to identify local partners who are committed to promoting agriculture value chain integration and SMEs cluster and biz network in CLMV, assess their capacity and develop intervention plan and strategies to build their capacity. MOUs have been signed with committed local partners to localize training packages and replicate MI core learning courses at provincial and border level. It is MI affirmative action to work with and through these local partners in the future to reach the critical masses of capacity building for regional development and cooperation.