Mekong Institute (MI) and the Savannakhet Department of Industry and Commerce (DOIC), with support from the New Zealand Aid Programme, co-organized a three-day training workshop on "Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) in Food Cottage Industries" on June 21 to 23, 2022 at the DOIC Office in Savannakhet, Lao PDR.
The training workshop gathered 28 participants from the food cottage industry, provincial DOIC, provincial Food and Drug Department (FDD) and academic institutions in the province to share knowledge and further build their capacity on good hygiene practices to enhance food businesses operations.
"Food is one of our basic needs, therefore, food operators play an important role in ensuring food safety and quality for consumers as well as to produce environmentally-friendly products," said Mr. Kalaso Luibuathong, Deputy Director of DOIC, in his opening remarks. He also expressed his appreciation for the support given by MI in strengthening the capacity of key stakeholders of the food business in Lao PDR.
Ms. Jutamas Thongcharoen, Program Manager of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department of MI, highlighted in her message that the previous training program of the Institute on "One District One Product Development and Promotion" provided an avenue in determining the need of small-scale food operators in Savannakhet for platforms that will assist them in pursuing food registration and food standards certification. As small-scale food operators often lack adequate facilities and knowledge to produce safe food and comply with relevant food standards, Ms. Thongcharoen expressed her hopes that the training workshop will improve their practices to meet safety and market requirements and stay competitive.
Consisting of four modules, the three-day training workshop is expected to provide food SME knowledge and skills to improve their food operation practices and food processing facilities, and to capacitate the public sector in supporting food operators and promoting hygiene and safety of food products available in the market. Participants also had a learning visit to food business operators, Mae Thip Dried Banana, which successfully obtained food hygiene certification, and Mae Bounmy Herb Drink, which established a good food safety assurance system, to learn and observe practices in implementing GHP.
Promoting food safety through a coordinated approach towards knowledge and skills development, the training workshop is one of the PROSAFE project activities set for 2022. The PROSAFE project will continue to strengthen food safety capabilities of agri-food supply chain stakeholders in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam up to mid-2023.