From March 2-3, 2023, Mekong Institute (MI) brought together more than 60 officials from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam (CLMTV) for an online “Synthesis and Evaluation Workshop on Sustainable and Smart Agricultural Supply Chain Development in Mekong Countries”. The workshop objective was to evaluate the outcomes of the participants’ learning and action plan implementation and collect inputs and best practices. With support from the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF), the two-day workshop was among the many activities under the “Sustainable and Smart Agricultural Supply Chain Development in Mekong Countries” project, whose goal is to improve production effectiveness and efficiency, reduce post-harvest losses, and increase energy efficiency in agricultural supply chains through cold chain development and smart and sustainable technologies in the post-COVID situation in the Mekong countries.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of MI, highlighted how the agriculture sector is the backbone of the subregion’s economy and the urgent need for a swift and sustainable recovery after the COVID-19 outbreak. He said: “We not only need to accelerate the production of agricultural goods and products, but also make sure that the supply chain is sustainable and smart since the progress of development and cooperation in recent years has also raised some concerns about how agriculture and the agri-food system will need to be promoted in the future.”
Prior to this, to achieve its project outputs, MI organized four training courses in 2022, namely a regional training session on Food Loss Reduction for Sustainable Value Chains, a regional training course on Sustainable and Smart Farming Technologies, along with online training on Business Investment on Smart Logistics Technologies for the Agricultural Supply Chain, and on Smart Renewable Energy Technologies for the Agriculture Supply Chain in Mekong Region. The two-day workshop on the online platform was the final project activity after a series of situation analysis studies, consultative meetings, training courses, workshops, action plan implementation, and a knowledge dissemination forum.
Participating in the workshops were officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Land and Transport, and Energy, as well as members of business associations and service providers in the areas of agribusiness, logistics, and energy in CLMTV. Besides the lively discussion, the workshop’s highlight was the presentations by participants who shared their experience in implementing their action plans.
Led by three MI’s thematic department programs - Agricultural Development and Commercialization (ADC), Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF), and Sustainable Energy and Environment (SEE) - the project comprises four key components: a) Sustainable and Smart Technology for the Agriculture Production Supply Chain, b) Energy Efficiency in the Agriculture Supply Chain, c) Smart Logistics Management for the Agriculture Supply Chain, and d) Project Monitoring and Evaluation.