To further strengthen the rice trade relationship of countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion, a five-day online Regional Training Program on Food Safety and Market Access for Rice in the Lancang-Mekong Region was organized by Mekong Institute and the Rice Department of Thailand on November 22-26, 2021.
Supported by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Special Fund, the training program aims to maximize rice trade opportunities within the Lancang-Mekong Region. It served as a platform for establishing reliable intra- and inter-market access for rice products in the region and seeking more opportunities for international market integration for safe rice products.
“There is a strong need for raising the awareness and understanding of safety and quality requirements, particularly in accessing foreign markets,” Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, MI Executive Director, said during the opening session. He also emphasized how working towards inclusive and sustainable rice production systems and value chains will help ensure that farmers sustain their livelihoods and that benefits are shared among stakeholders.
In support, Mr. Wang Liping, Minister Counsellor of the Economic and Commercial Office, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Kingdom of Thailand, said that, “Rice production cooperation and rice trade are very important in increasing farmers' income and improving farmers' well-being, as well as our food safety and food security.”
Rice is a staple food and has served as the backbone economy in the region for a century. Almost all countries in the region are leading rice exporters in the world, contributing to a quarter of the total global rice exports. Understanding food safety and market access of the LMC member-countries is essential to increase trade efficiency and expand market access. Anchored in this context, the concluded training program was the first capacity building initiative under the three-year project on the Development and Implementation of Common Rice Product Standard in Lancang-Mekong Countries to attempt the alignment of rice product standards of the six LMC member countries for better international and regional rice trade.
Gathering 24 participants from the public and private sectors of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, the training program covered a wide range of topics, including rice-related sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, technical barriers to trade (TBT), and the Chinese quality standards on rice and its import regulations.