As Mekong Institute (MI) and the Rice Department (RD) of Thailand conclude their three-year project on the ‘Development and Implementation of Common Rice Product Standards in Lancang-Mekong (LM) Countries,’ partners from the rice sector in the Mekong Region have expressed their interest in collaborating on another initiative that will forward the development of a common rice traceability system. The interest was expressed during the End-of-Project Evaluation Workshop that took place in Bangkok, Thailand from March 28-30, 2023.
The workshop was conducted to assess the performance and sustainability of project activities and draw lessons as the bases for future projects related to the improvement of international and regional rice trade in the region.
“Through this End-of-Project Evaluation Workshop, we will identify entry points where we can cooperate further in promoting rice standards and traceability in the Lancang-Mekong Region. The workshop will serve as a platform to assess and document project achievements and lessons learned from project implementation,” said Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department at Mekong Institute, in her opening remarks.
In his welcome message, Mr. Owat Yinglap, Director of the Rice Product Development of the RD, encouraged participants to use the event as an opportunity to strengthen the network created by project partners and identify areas for future collaboration. He urged them to share reflections on the project, its activities, and its contributions to rice sector development in the Lancang-Mekong region, noting that these inputs are important in shaping future regional projects in the rice sector.
Included in the identified intermediate impacts of the project are the initial efforts of the Working Group in coming up with a list of minimum rice traceability data requirements for mutual recognition of the existing traceability platforms in the LM region. The interest of the body in pursuing the promotion of traceability systems for rice indicated the future direction of partnerships.
At the end of the workshop, Thailand showcased its best practices on seed breeding and rice research by taking the participants to Ruam Jai Pattana Kwamroo Company Limited and Pathum Thani Rice Research Center.
Representatives from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam participated in the workshop. Experts from the RD also attended.
With support from Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund, the project aims to harmonize the rice product standards of the six LM countries to further enhance international and regional rice trade.