Mekong Institute (MI) and the Thailand Rice Department are working to harmonize rice production standards and systems to help Lancang-Mekong countries better access and compete in international markets at an inception workshop under the “Development and Implementation of Common Rice Production Standard in Mekong Lancang Sub-Region” project at the MI Headquarters on November 10 and 11, 2020.
The blended onsite and online workshop convened 30 government officials from Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam to level off understanding of existing rice production standards in Lancang-Mekong countries, as well as to establish common understanding of project activities in the next three years, including outcomes and expectations on the roles and responsibilities among partners.
“Rice is life,” Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, MI Executive Director said before explaining that outcomes from the activity will have impacts on human nutrition, livelihood, and food security of people in the Mekong-Lancang region.
“By working to harmonize our rice production, we contribute to strengthening sustainable rice-based production systems, which will in turn make more efficient rice trade facilitation and strengthen agricultural economies,” he said.
Currently, the Mekong region is the world’s largest rice producer. With rapid socioeconomic development across the region, each member country has adapted modern rice farming standards and systems to maximize diverse ecosystems and mitigate the impacts of climate change on rice yields. These, however, have resulted in disparate production across region, and thus have produced varying rice quality and quantity.
Mr. Narawoot Piyachoatsakulchai, Director of the Rice Product Development Division from the Thailand Rice Department stated that “it is a privilege to partner with MI in this important project.” He added that he and other government representatives “look forward to more activities such as the workshop to institutionalize information sharing of best rice management practices to further rice competitiveness in the region.”
Supported by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund, the workshop is the first of a series of activities which will see MI and government agencies across the Lancang-Mekong region working together to assess current rice production systems.
This is the second blended online and onsite workshop of MI, with Thailand participants attending the sessions at the MI Headquarters in Khon Kaen, Thailand, while government representatives from Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam are participating via Zoom conference.