Mekong Institute (MI), an intergovernmental organization based in Khon Kaen, Thailand and Betagro Group, an agri-industrial company, join hands to conduct a 4-week Youth Camp and Action Research on Integrated Swine and Poultry Production from 11 July to 5 August 2011. Twenty college-level students from Lao PDR and Vietnam will undergo a rigorous training on swine and poultry production combining theories and practical applications. 

The Youth Camp kicked off with an opening ceremony at Mekong Institute on 11 July attended by a team of Betagro staff composed of senior officials from Bangkok headquarters and Khon Kaen branch. Dr. Suchat Katima, the MI Director, welcomed everyone with great enthusiasm and conveyed his thanks to Betagro for this public-private partnership which is a novel undertaking for MI. 

The opening was graced by Betagros Executive Vice President Dr. Nopporn Vayuchote. In his opening remarks, Dr. Nopporn stressed Betagros 44 years in integrated agricultural and food business starting with a feed mill factory in Thailand in 1967 and expanding to become one of Thailands largest agro-industrial businesses, now spanning Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. He looks at the Youth Camp as a good opportunity to expose young students to the operations of a successful agribusiness enterprise and hopefully inspire the students and encourage them to pursue a career in the agricultural sector a sector which the young generation expresses less appreciation for. 

The Youth Camp will last for 28 days and will be held at MI Residential Training Centre with action research and practical learning experiences in Betagros swine and poultry farms in Khon Kaen Province and exposure to Betagros feed, soup and meat processing factories, and cooked specialty products in Lopburi Province in Thailand. 

The program is designed to establish knowledge and skills sharing network among selected agricultural technical colleges in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Aside from providing greater awareness in and appreciation for agriculture, the program hopes to create a new set of labor force which is not only equipped with knowledge and skills but likewise aware of the importance of regional cooperation and integration to support growth and development in the region. 

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