Mekong Institute (MI) and SME Service Center, Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), have partnered to help agri-small- and medium-sized enterprises meet growing consumer demand for safe food at a blended training workshop on “Food Preservation, Packaging and Labeling for Food Safety” on December 4, 2020 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
“Appropriate food packaging and labeling are important in ensuring food safety and expanding business opportunities. Compliance with these standards will help reduce postharvest damage and food waste, as well as promote sound hygiene practices,” Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, MI Director of Agricultural Development and Commercialization, said during the opening session.
Borne from findings in the recently completed PROSAFE Food Safety Forum in Lao PDR, the activity aimed to strengthen technological capacities of agri-food stakeholders in the country. Specifically, MI and LNCCI briefed over 60 agri-food enterprise representatives on food safety, food spoilage, and principles of food preservation, food packaging for quality and safety; and regulations related to food packaging and labeling to help them participate and thrive in competitive national and regional markets.
“It is in partnership with others that we can cement change,” Mr. Phutthasone Phomvisay, Director of the SME Service Center, LNCCI, said to the participants. As a committed food safety champion, Mr. Phomvisay expressed hope of further collaboration with MI to jointly build and sustain a food safety culture in his country.
“With support from MI, this workshop opened opportunities for us to learn and exchange best practices from our Thailand counterparts. Let us continue to push forward sound food safety practices that will safeguard our health and, more importantly, help us optimize gains for the benefit of our local businesses,” he said.
Supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme, the activity was part of a series of PROSAFE activities in 2020 that focuses on strengthening food safety and quality control systems in the agri-food sector amidst a global health crisis. Speakers from the event included two food experts from Thailand and one food regulator in Lao PDR to further establish an inclusive public-private regional food safety network.
This was the third blended online and onsite workshop of MI under the PROSAFE project, with Lao PDR participants present at the SME Service Center, LNCCI in Vientiane, while others attended via Zoom conference.