Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 30-31, 2022 – The Mekong Institute (MI) and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) hosted the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Business Forum (LMBF) with the theme “Promoting Agribusiness and Investment in Processed Food Sector”.
The Business Forum is part of a long-term project funded by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund (LMCSF) of P.R. China and has been organized by Mekong Institute (MI) in each of Lancang-Mekong (LM) countries, namely Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Viet Nam and Thailand, since 2018 in coordination with the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand. In 2022, MI collaborated with the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce to co-organize the 3rd LMBF in order to promote agribusiness and processed food sector of Cambodia and LM countries.
The two-day event was organized as a hybrid event comprised of a range of online and on-site activities to establish business linkages, exchange information on innovation and technology in the processed food sector, and boost investment through collaboration among businesses in the Lancang-Mekong region. More than 150 participants from the LM countries and other countries attended the forum’s on-site business seminar, around 60 companies joined on-site business matching, and 30 companies participated in the filed visits. Meanwhile, over 200 participants participated in the seminar session and business matching via virtual platforms.
In the opening program, leaders of the hosting organizations, such as Mr. Zhang Qian, Deputy Director of Political Division, Embassy of P.R. China in Thailand, Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of MI, Mr. Neak Oknha Kith Meng, President of CCC, and Mr. Nirawat Rangseekanjana, Minister Counsellor (Commercial), Office of Commercial Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy in Cambodia, led the welcoming of participants and formal opening ceremony of the forum.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Neak Oknha Kith Meng emphasized that the LM countries “share cultural similarities, traditional friendships, and development interest. The countries are interconnected and have great potential for cooperation, with complementary advantage on resources and industry structures.” As the forum will showcase the Cambodian agro-food sector, he encouraged all the business delegates to actively participate in the event and explore real business opportunities in the country.
H.E. Chhuon Dara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia, graced the event and gave the opening remarks. He stressed that the forum is “playing a significant role as a platform for promoting a closer collaboration through accelerating trade and investment cooperation among Mekong-Lancang countries.” He also recognized how the forum “brings all the relevant stakeholders to meet up face-to-face for an exchange of views and ideas on ways to strengthen and expand the business operation on agriculture and agro-processing sector.”
Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn of MI delivered the keynote address on Post-COVID-19 Recovery – promoting agribusiness and investment in agro-food processing sector, particularly recognizing Cambodia as an emerging investment and business hub. He highlighted Cambodia’s relative advantages and also its efforts in providing incentives for business investments, such as “the business-friendly government, strategic geographic location, preferential market access, skilled human resources, and improved quality of life.” On Post-COVID-19 recovery, Mr. Suriyan shared some focus areas that the LM countries should be working on, specifically sustainable food systems, food safety and quality, green finance and investment, e-commerce, technologies and innovations for product development, branding, and marketing, labor development, and cross-border mechanisms and other related concerns.
During the Business Seminar, industry leaders and experts also shared experiences through a panel discussion, covering topics such as megatrends and opportunities in agro-food processing sector, policy support, incentives, and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) arrangements, and regenerative agriculture and green investment.
For the Experience Sharing session, selected speakers talked about their trade and investment experiences, including investing in agriculture processing hub and cold chain logistics in Cambodia and Cambodian agro-food processing and exporting. For the business and products innovation session, speakers shared on the Cambodian agro-food products innovation, Cambodian innovative agro-food start-up, innovative packaging and marketing for processed agro-food products, and smart logistics for agro-food processing industry.
Furthermore, processed food enterprises and investors shared situational updates and network business deal opportunities by participating in the business matching, which was done face-to-face and via the LMBF online platform.
To showcase innovative food products and emerging technologies for food processing, packaging, and labeling, an exhibition was set up on site and participated by 30 agro-food business companies from Cambodia, Lancang-Mekong countries and beyond.
In the second day of the forum, a Structured Learning Visit was organized for selected participants to see the leading food processing firm - Lyly Food Industry Co., Ltd. and Cambodia’s Royal Group of Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone.
The next Lancang-Mekong Business Forum will be organized in Lao PDR. If you are interested to continuously explore the business opportunities linking Lancang-Mekong region with world value chains, please follow the official website of the Lancang-Mekong Business Forum at www.lancangmekongforum.com.