MEKONG INSTITUTE JOINS FORCES WITH LAO PDR’S MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE TO PROMOTE AGRIBUSINESS AND INVESTMENT IN PROCESSED FOOD SECTOR AT THE 4TH LANCANG-MEKONG BUSINESS FORUM

Agricultural Development and Commercialization ,Trade and Investment Facilitation
Vientiane, Lao PDR / November 9, 2022 — With support from the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund of P.R. China, the Mekong Institute (MI) and the Department of Trade Promotion, Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), Lao PDR, in coordination with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) of the Royal Thai Government, organized the 4th Lancang-Mekong Business Forum (LMBF) to promote agribusiness and investment in the processed food sector. The event comprised a business seminar, business matching, an exhibition and a structured learning visit to the Boten Special Economic Zone and aimed to provide a platform for exchange of business information and market opportunities while offering insights into new trends in the food processing sector. The forum on the theme “Promoting Agribusiness and Investment in Processed Food Sector” attracted over 80 stakeholders on site with more than 50 joining online.
Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director, MI, underscored the importance of the event in his welcome address: “This gathering today comes at a timely moment as our region is rebuilding its economies following the Covid-19 pandemic and coping with a food security crisis. It is a known fact that the economies of Lancang-Mekong countries (LMC), namely Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, are highly reliant on agriculture. In Lao PDR, the agriculture sector accounts for 14 per cent of GDP while employing over 60 per cent of the labor force.”

Improving productivity and promoting investment will contribute to income generation in and the competitiveness of the sector. MI is pleased to be working with various partners to promote greater economic cooperation and integration to support sustainable socioeconomic development and support for people’s livelihoods in Lao PDR and the Lancang-Mekong countries,

The Government of Lao PDR recognizes that agriculture is an integral part of the economy and a key driver for reducing poverty. In response to this, the Government has implemented the 8th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016–2020) (NSEDP8) and the Agricultural Development Strategy to 2025 and Vision to 2030. The two frameworks put great emphasis on encouraging international trade in non-rice agriculture products, improving and ensuring food quality both for national consumption and export, and legalizing land tenure.

“A key mandate of our ministry is to further strengthen agri-food business opportunities and facilitate trade. I am confident that this event will make a strong contribution to the Lao agri-food sector by opening new market opportunities and sparking new ideas and innovations. I believe there is much potential, much more room, and much more demand, for the high quality, safe, and innovative Lao agri-food products.”  

Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Director of Trade and Investment Facilitation Department, MI, stated: “A Business Forum such as this is an important platform for sharing innovations, good practices, challenges, and opportunities in the agro-food processing industry. The participants are expected to identify potential business partners and obtain updates on the latest technology and product innovation to improve productivity, competitiveness, and business networking in Lao PDR and other LM countries. At the regional level, the ultimate aim is to foster a transition to sustainable processed-food future across all LM countries which is fundamental to the socioeconomic development of the region.”

Due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in some countries, the forum has been designed with a combination of on-site activities and a virtual platform. This is the fourth Business Forum and a part of a sixth series of business forums during 2018 – 2024.

For more details, contact:

Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta 
Director
Trade and Investment Facilitation Department (TIF)
Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand
Email: dutta@mekonginstitute.org

Ms. Wen Hao
Program Coordinator
Trade and Investment Facilitation Department (TIF)
Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand
Tel: +66 43 202411-2 ext. 2105
Email: haowen@mekonginstitute.org

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