Representatives of government agencies and rice businesses from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Vietnam discussed strategies for increasing the competitiveness of rice from the region by establishing a mutual recognition of traceability platform during the International Workshop on Traceability System for Rice in the Lancang-Mekong Region, which was held on September 6-7, 2022 at the Novotel Saigon Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Aimed at raising the awareness of the Mekong countries on traceability systems and their benefits for rice trade within and outside the region, the workshop provided participants with an overview of traceability platforms and the existing initiatives of Thailand, Vietnam, China and Cambodia in this area.
“With rice as a top export commodity and the staple food of most people in the region, a rice traceability system post-pandemic will not only build confidence and trust of consumers in the quality of food they buy, but will also provide ease in doing business in domestic, regional and international markets,” Mr. Kris Uttamavedin, Deputy Director General of Thailand Rice Department (RD), said in his opening remarks. He also highlighted the importance of traceability in connecting actors of the agri-food value chain for a strengthened approach to addressing the vulnerability of the food ecosystem.
Led by Dr. Arnat Leemakdej, Director of the Centre of Intellectual Property and Business Incubator in Thammasat University and the Chief Advisor of the project Trace Thai, the roundtable discussion set the stage for a collaborative call to set up a mutual recognition of traceability platforms presented during the workshop. Acknowledging the amount of time necessary to achieve its development, agreement was reached that the representatives present would constitute the initial Executive Working Group moving forward.
To end the two-day activity, participants visited the Best Rice Company where they were welcomed by its Director, Mr. Le Thanh Phong. The company shared its rice products for exports, partner countries, best practices on international standards compliance, and experiences in the global rice trade.
Supported by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund, this workshop is a part of a three-year project “Development and Implementation of Common Rice Product Standard in Lancang-Mekong Countries” of the Mekong Institute and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) through the RD.