Mekong Institute (MI), in collaboration with Consumer Protection, Competition, Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF), Ministry of Commerce (MoC) organized a one-day forum on “Food Safety for Market Access: Bringing Cambodian Food to the World” on June 14, 2022 at Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh Hotel, Cambodia. The forum, which is a part of PROSAFE: Promoting Safe Food for Everyone initiative funded by New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP), brought in more than 40 relevant key stakeholders from the public, private sector MSMEs and the academe.
In her welcome remarks, Ms. Maria Theresa Medialdia, Director of Agricultural Development and Commercialization (ADC) Department of Mekong Institute, extended her warm welcome and sincere thanks to all participants who attended the forum. She mentioned that “as food systems become more complex and supply chains longer, multiple actors are involved and food contamination is more likely to happen, unless good handling and hygienic practices are adopted.” She added that in order to scale-up export of agri-food products, Cambodia stakeholders need to strengthen the trust in the quality and safety of its agri-food supply chain. She then acknowledged and appreciated all the great efforts made by the CCF in promoting food safety in Cambodia.
Cambodia has recently promulgated the ‘Food Safety Law’ which sets out the roles and responsibilities of the government agencies in managing a risk-based national food control system and the important role that food business operators have to play in ensuring the safety of food products. In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. PHAN Oun, Delegate of Royal Government of Cambodia in charge as Director General of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF), Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Cambodia, noted that he found the forum very timely as it provides a platform for stakeholders to “get updates on agri-food sector strategies and discuss further how agri-food exports can be expanded to a wider international market.”
Key speakers from related ministries — H.E. Mr. DIM Theng, Deputy Director-General of CCF of Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Mr. CHHEA Layhy, Director of SMEs Department of Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI) and Mr. HEUNG Chak, Deputy Director of Market Development Department of MoC — were invited to present on the current status of agri-food sector, public sector strategies on increasing agri-food exports, and updates on Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs), food safety compliance requirements, infrastructure and facilities. From the private sector, Mr. Fukada Tsuyoshi, Executive Advisor of Yamato Green Co., Ltd, shared his company’s experiences on penetrating the local and international markets.
A panel discussion was held towards the end of the event to identity the next steps on how to bring the Cambodian food to the world with panelists coming from both the public and the private sectors. Close collaboration among relevant stakeholders, technical capacity enhancement, product quality improvement, having a traceability system in place, and implementing a good food value chain system control and management, are among the key insights shared by the panelists.
Launched in 2018, the PROSAFE project was funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme. This project was initiated to strengthen technical support and build up regional and local capacity of key actors from both the public and private sectors in fostering a safe food culture in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.