“You are agents of change. Let us work together and share what we learn from this training, so we can strengthen our agriculture economies to improve the lives of farmers in the Greater Mekong Subregion.”
This was the statement of Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, Executive Director of Mekong Institute (MI), as he welcomed 21 government, academic and private sector representatives at the opening of the Postharvest Management System in Fresh Horticultural Produce regional training at the MI Training Center in Khon Kaen, Thailand.
The training, which was organized by MI with funding support from the People’s Republic of China, will roll out four modules from November 4 to 15, 2019 to increase participants’ knowledge in safely prolonging shelf life of fresh produce through innovations in packaging, transportation and storage technologies.
“We manage a project that helps 78,000 women grow vegetables and fruits in their home garden for extra income,” Mr. Sangkhom Phetsinghant, Nutrition Advisor from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Lao PDR, shared with co-participants from Cambodia, PR China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam at the introduction session.
“This training will help us adopt the best postharvest management process so our beneficiaries—who do not own refrigerators and live far from the markets—can still sell good and safe produce for higher revenue,” Sangkhom said.
Dr. Antonio Acedo, Jr., postharvest specialist from the Philippines, will lead the two-week training. His sessions include theoretical discussions on pest control and the stages of horticulture decay. Dr. Acedo will also provide practical and cost-efficient approaches to maintain the quality of high value crops such as mango, banana, dragon fruit, durian, corn, sweet potato and cassava for stronger market competitiveness in the Mekong region.
Participants will also attend meetings and exposure trips in Khon Kaen, Pathum Thani and Bangkok at the latter part of the training. Through MI facilitation, they will engage with Thai cooperatives and farmers, as well as managers of leading fruit and vegetable export companies in Talaad Thai and P & F Techno Company to gain applicable best practices in postharvest management systems.