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Listing 38 publications.

Water Resources and Climate Change: The Pulse of the Mekong Region

Water Resources and Climate Change: The Pulse of the Mekong Region

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2020
Link: Download


Project Snapshot : Development of Rice Pest and Natural Disaster Monitoring, Forecasting, and Warning Center for Sustainable Rice Production under Climate Change in the Mekong-Lancang Subregion

Project Snapshot : Development of Rice Pest and Natural Disaster Monitoring, Forecasting, and Warning Center for Sustainable Rice Production under Climate Change in the Mekong-Lancang Subregion

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2020
Link: Download


Project Snapshot : Development and Implementation of Common Rice Production Standard in the Mekong-Lancang Subregion

Project Snapshot : Development and Implementation of Common Rice Production Standard in the Mekong-Lancang Subregion

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2020
Link: Download


Project Snapshot : Transboundary Cooperation Mechanism on Adaptation Climate & Hydropower

Project Snapshot : Transboundary Cooperation Mechanism on Adaptation Climate & Hydropower

Category: Brochure, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Pages: 2
Year: 2019
Link: Download


GMS Snapshots

GMS Snapshots

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2017
Link: Download


Planning and Implementing Contract Farmning Operations

Planning and Implementing Contract Farmning Operations

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization, Completion Reports
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute


Interest in contract farming as a mechanism to coordinate linkages between farmers and agribusiness firms has grown significantly in the recent past, largely due to the international trends towards tighter alignment in agri-food supply chains. Because of its large but untapped potential in improving the lives of smallholder farmers, and enhancing agricultural productivity in general, contract farming has become a subject of interest of researchers, agriculturists, development workers, and farmers, among others, all over the world.  With this high demand for knowledge likewise comes the rising need for information-dissemination, technical assistance, and capacity-building programs that intend to educate various professionals concerned in this line of work.

Aiming to build the capacity of Southeast Asian participants in dealing with issues related to facilitating market linkages through contract farming operations, the Rural Development Department of the Mekong Institute (MI), with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), conducted a four-day regional training workshop entitled “Planning and Implementing Contract Farming Operations” at the Mekong River Conference Hall, MI Annex, last Nov. 23-26.

The program was attended by junior to mid-level officials from Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce, Industry and Trade; extension agents; professionals from research and academic institutions; development project personnel; agribusiness private sectors representatives; and farmer group production and marketing leaders. Twenty-five participants, 15 of which were fully-funded by FAO and 10 of which are self-funded, have been selected for this course, each coming from twelve different countries – Cambodia, China, France, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Dr. Carlos da Silva, Senior Agribusiness Economist of FAO-Rome, and Mr. Ralph Houtman, Agribusiness Officer of FAO-Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific, facilitated the whole training workshop. Each of them discussed various topics in contract farming, specifically emphasizing how to plan and set up contract farming operations, as well as the considerations on legal aspects of contract design and reinforcement. After each topic, the participants were given the opportunity to ask questions, which gave way to a fruitful discussion and participatory learning.

The resource persons likewise presented case studies of contract farming in various countries, such as Brazil, which engaged the participants in a critical discourse and healthy debate among each other. After the first two days of lectures and in-house sessions, MI facilitated two field visits on the third day of the program. The participants, along with the resource persons and a number of MI staff, visited the Mitr Phol Sugar Company and a small swine farm performing contract farming with the Charoen Pokphand Group in Khon Kaen. The field speakers in each field sites encouraged the participants to ask and discuss about the actual application of contract farming, which reinforced the lessons taught in the lectures and further widened the participants’ understanding of contract farming in Thailand.

At the fourth and final day of the program, the participants were given an opportunity to have a hands-on experience of analyzing various contracts from around the world, and assess whether or not these contracts pass the FAO standards as discussed by the resource speakers. After presenting the results of their contract analyses, the participants were grouped into four and were asked to brainstorm about the challenges and opportunities for the promotion of buyer-farmer linkages through contract farming in Southeast Asia. Receiving a total weighted average of 4.53 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest) in the participants’ evaluation, the program was considered a success. One of the participants commended the overall quality of the presentations, citing that the lectures were “clear and concise; easy to digest and understand.”


Posthavest Management of Fresh Horticultural Produce

Posthavest Management of Fresh Horticultural Produce

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization, Completion Reports
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute

The program had two parts: (1) practical training on postharvest management in a value chain setting and (2) presentation, evaluation and synthesis of results of the implementation of country action plans. A training package comprising of six modules with topical contents was developed by the resource person and improved by MI’s Rural Development for Sustainable Livelihoods Unit. 

The program was delivered using powerpoint presentations, discussions, hands on exercises on selected postharvest technologies and best practices, and field visits to GAP farm and its packhouse and market outlet as well as to a wholesale vegetable market. The training team distributed handouts and CD of ppt presentations, guide to and results of the practical activities, country presentations and pictorial documentation. Participants analyzed and presented the results and observations of the practical exercises and field visits to stimulate and sharpen their analytical skills on postharvest phenomena and commercial situations for future application in home country and work place. Overall, the training component improved participants’ knowledge.

The presentation and discussion of the country action plan results were similarly enriching. The Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar participants presented their results of the assessment of the handling practices and problems for fresh chili, leaf mustard and grapes, respectively, together with a poster which was evaluated by the participants themselves, MI staff and resource person, for improvement and subsequent translation to country languages prior to posting in strategic places in the country and possible conversion to leaflets for distribution to farmers and other stakeholders. On the other hand, the Vietnam participants shared the experiences and outcomes of the training programs conducted in the north (Hanoi) and south (Ho Chi Minh) of the country. 

Based on the analysis of the questionnaire evaluation and observation of MI facilitators, the objectives of the workshop were achieved. Participants have reflected on the learning experiences during action plan implementation. The participants were able to evaluate and synthesize the modular learning process, as well as to stimulate sharing and networking among them. They were satisfied with the program that they expressed certainty of recommending this program to others in their respective countries.


Sustainable Community Development

Sustainable Community Development

Category: Completion Reports, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute (MI) organized the one-month training course on “
Sustainable Community Development” under the financial support from Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand. Ten Cambodian central and provincial government officials from the Ministry of Rural Development participated in this training program, which was organized from June 29 to July 24, 2015, at the MI Residential Training Center in Khon Kaen Province, Thailand.

The course aimed to a) increase participants’ skills in community analysis; b) enhance participants’ knowledge of concepts and process of community development in Thailand; c) strengthen participants’ skills to facilitate local participation in rural community development; d) improve the participants’ knowledge and ability to plan for strategies and interventions to cope with the community issues in their work location; and e) advance the participants’ ability to employ monitoring  and evaluation concepts and tools to help improve the performance of community development strategies. 

Five interactive modules were conducted to cover the above objectives. The first module was about Concepts of Sustainable Community Development whichgave an overview of trends and interventions as well as problem and potential in different national and regional contexts. Next, the second module was the discussion on Sustainable Community Development: Diagnostic Processes and Tools. These enabled participants to use participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and stakeholder analysis in community development. In the third module, it was focused on Planning and Implementation Framework in Community Development. Planning technique, SWOT analysis, logical framework, monitoring, and evaluation were emphasized in the session. Afterward, the fourth module was explained about the Leadership in Community Development. Participants learned about the role of leader, people-centered development approach, and management in community development. In addition, the fieldwork was designed as the fifth module for the participatory rural appraisal (PRA) fieldwork which was conducted in Surin province where it gave opportunities for participants to learn about the real practice from the Thailand’s village development. In the final week, participants were brought to the indigo-cotton weaving group in Sakhon Nakhon province, and rice cracker group in Khon Kaen province to learn of some successful community-based enterprise (CBE) in Thailand.                 
Two resource persons, Dr. Suchint Simaraks , and Dr. Chamnan Wattanasiri , responsibled for delivering  lectures and facilitating the training program. Multi- learning methods, from theories as well as practices, were employed. Participatory was a core component; discussion were encouraged. The participants produced a planning and fieldwork report at the end of the course.   



The Lower Mekong Food Security Donor Mapping Database Project

The Lower Mekong Food Security Donor Mapping Database Project

Category: Project Completion Reports, Agricultural Development & Commercialization
Year: 2015
Link: Download

Written by Mekong Institute

On October 1, 2013, the Mekong Institute was awarded a grant by the USAID/RDMA to develop an online platform that tracks and lists all foreign-funded food security and agriculture initiatives in the five countries of the Lower Mekong Region (LMR) Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam

 The project consisted of two phases: Phase I which involved research and mapping of food security and agriculture activities in the region; and Phase II which entailed the set up and design of the database and the conduct of information dissemination activities.

Staff of the Rural Development Department under which the project was maintained carried out Phase I from October 2013 to mid-2014. Alongside this, Phase II began on December 2013 with the hiring of a website and database programmer to set up the system.

On May 2015, the project team completed the official version of the database. It is  currently hosted in an in-house server at Mekong Institute and may be accessed at foodsecurity.mekonginstitute.org. The website was presented to USAID/RDMA and selected donors and development partners on June 29, 2015.

With a grant amounting to USD 108,400, the Lower Mekong Initiative Food  Security Donor Mapping Database project ran from October 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015. 


Sustainable Rural Development

Sustainable Rural Development

Category: Agricultural Development & Commercialization, Completion Reports
Year: 2015

Written by Mekong Institute

The Training Program on “Sustainable Rural Development” was held on 1-5 June 2015 at Mekong Institute (MI) Residential Training Center in Khon Kaen, Thailand, in collaboration with the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) and the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD). Nineteen officials of Myanmar, Lao PDR and Thailand participated in the program. The training program aimed to enhance the participants’ professional capacity in sustainable rural development strategies and interventions.

The resource person Dr. Suchint Simaraks, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University, Thailand contributed to the design and delivery of the lectures in the program. The training program was composed of three interrelated modules. Module 1 on “Introduction to Sustainable Rural Development Concepts” provides an overview of concept of rural development and trends in rural development policies and interventions in current different context including national, regional and international levels. This module introduced the participants to the integrated and multi-sectoral approach to sustainable rural development which will emphasize the links between actors for development of the rural economy. This approach aims to use all available local economic synergies by strengthening production chains and linking with private sector and developing well-functioning markets.

Module 2 on “Issues Related to Sustainable Rural Development” highlighted different issues, challenges and opportunities related to sustainable rural development including inequity alleviation, good governance, environmental protection and regional cooperation, and risk management. Participants gained a better understanding on how to identify and compare the aforementioned issues, challenges and opportunities in their respective working areas.

Module 3 on “Sustainable Rural Development Interventions and Planning” provided an idea of a good example of rural development intervention which demonstrated success and created positive impacts in the livelihood of the community. During this module, a field visit has been made to a community with rural development and income-generating projects. The visit provided participants with firsthand information and exposed them to new ideas and experiences which may be applied in their work.

The training program is running in an interactive learning fashion. Brainstorming and discussion are carried out in most of the sessions. Concepts, principles and methodologies are explained through Powerpoint presentations to reinforce their learning. A field visit is arranged and discussed after in order to link room sessions to real world situations. Before the field visit, participants prepared an interview guide as a tool to collect information. The participants are divided into groups with different nationalities and mixed gender. After the field visit, participants are asked to discuss and present the lessons learned from the visit and indicate practices which can be applied upon their return.

Beside the contents of the program, top-ten world trends from World Economic Forum, Millennium Goals, world poverty distribution, resources limitation and other topics related to sustainable development are added. Causes of un-sustainability as reflected by inequity, urban-rural interrelationship, ecosystems, agro-ecosystems, urban systems interaction are discussed. Rural sustainability is integrated into the mentioned issues. Ideas for intervention are generated according to each country situation, in which the participants are tasked to prepare tentative action plan for learning and discussion, as well as monitoring and evaluation. The participatory action research is introduced and discussed. Towards the end, participants present their findings from the field visit and make some recommendations.

In conclusion, there are three main perspectives that the participants should assimilate: sustainable rural development that must be environmentally bearable, economically viable and socially equitable; network and network management; and functional relationship with outside organizations.