Mekong Institute (MI) and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry (FAF), Da Lat University have partnered to help representatives from agricultural management agencies, farmer associations, cooperatives, and agri-food companies boost their efficiency in postharvest safe food handling of fresh fruits and vegetables at a training workshop in Da Lat University, Lam Dong, Vietnam on November 26, 2020.
“Proper handling and application of appropriate postharvest management systems play an important role in ensuring the quality and safety of fresh produce,” Ms. Ratna Devi Nadarajan, Food Safety Specialist of MI’s Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, said in her welcome statement.
Describing the attendees present at the workshop food safety champions, Ms. Nadarajan enjoined them to adapt strong postharvest management systems to meet growing food requirements, minimize losses, and boost market competitiveness.
The one-day workshop briefed a total of 60 onsite and online participants on advanced concepts of postharvest safe food handling. MI and FAF also included a study visit in Sun Food Farm to expose them to practical methods and systems, as well as sound procedures such as documentation and record keeping for stronger efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
“Much work remains for us to ensure food quality and safety but we are all taking the right steps forward” Ms. Cao Thi Lan, Dean of FAF said. She added that FAF hopes to deepen its partnership with MI to further promote food safety in Vietnam through the application of agricultural science and technology.
“By getting all sectors involved such as unions, cooperatives, business groups, and international companies, we can ensure food quality, safety, and security not only for ourselves but for others,” she said.
The blended workshop on “Postharvest Safe Food Handling” was one of MI’s capacity building activities under the PROSAFE project in 2020. Supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme, PROSAFE is a five-year initiative that provides training and support services to Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam agricultural and food safety government officials and private sector actors. The project aims to enhance their food safety knowledge and expertise, as well as assist them in preparing and implementing appropriate food safety regulations and standards for select value chains and market outlets both within and outside their respective countries.