Developed during the Regional Training Program on Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) for Safer Food, four (4) food safety campaigns will be launched in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV).
Hoping to contribute to addressing the increasing foodborne-related incidents in schools, participants from Cambodia and Viet Nam focused their campaigns on preventing food poisoning cases and improving regulations and measures in primary and secondary schools, respectively. Participants from Lao PDR will run a campaign on safe food handling at home, while those from Myanmar will work on improving the hygiene practices of street food vendors. The campaigns will utilize both traditional and new media to deliver key food safety messages to targeted audiences.
“Since we are now in a digitalized world where information is just a click away, it is an opportune time for us to accelerate our efforts in building a food safety culture in the region. We can start by ensuring that information on safe food consumption is not only available but also accessible to the public,” said Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, in her opening remarks. She also highlighted that by making consumers aware of their right to safe food, food businesses are encouraged to supply high-quality and safe food products.
Designed to enhance the professional capacity of key agri-food stakeholders on promoting safe food consumption through SBCC strategies, the training program drew the participation of 31 representatives of government agencies and non-government organizations working on food safety-related issues in the region from February 20 to March 3, 2023 at the Mekong Institute (MI) Training Centre in Khon Kaen, Thailand.
The 10-day training provided five modules based on the C-Planning process. These were delivered by experts from FHI 360, Kasetsart University and development partners outside the Mekong region. Under the second module, the participants had a chance to visit Bang Lam Phoo Market and Siam MAKRO in Khon Kaen to identify different communication strategies used by both local and commercial markets in promoting safe food consumption.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of MI, highlighted the importance of producing safe food in the region as its food and agriculture sectors are developing fast and creating more trade opportunities. “Ensuring that the food is safe is not enough,” he added. “Making consumers understand what is safe food and providing them informed choices through reliable information are also essential for the region’s goal of becoming a global food business hub.”
Supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme, the course was held under the project Promoting Safe Food for Everyone or PROSAFE. The project seeks to strengthen the food safety capabilities of agri-food supply chain stakeholders in CLMV.