Agricultural Development and Commercialization

Mekong Institute’s PROSAFE Project continues the delivery of training courses to bolster safe food consciousness in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV). Today, August 20, the regional training program on Mainstreaming Food Safety Risk Analysis opened at the MI Residential Training Center with 28 participants in attendance from relevant government agencies, academic and research institutions and the private sector in CLMV.

Combining in-house lectures, structured learning visits and case study workshops, the two-week training aims to broaden the participants’ knowledge on the principles and methods of risk analysis, as well as offer a platform for sharing of practical experiences in developing relevant risk assessment, management and communication approaches.

Addressing the group at the opening ceremony, MI Executive Director Dr. Watcharas Leelawath explained the broad objectives of MI’s Food Safety Project supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP). “We want to see the improvement of food safety regulation and food safety practice in the CLMV countries. This can open up opportunities for the CLMV farmers and food processing companies to export their products in the region and outside. This is what we want to see,” he described.

The course is the fifth in the series of food safety training programs organized since July with the launching of the PROSAFE Project: Promoting Safe Food for Everyone. As the second phase of the MI Food Safety Project, the PROSAFE initiative hopes to further engage key actors from both the public and private sectors and put in place an integrated mechanism leading toward significant changes in food safety perception and practices in the region.

Emphasizing the role of the participants in advancing this goal, Dr. Leelawath called on them to be the change agents in the region. “We believe that after you gain the knowledge and information from our experts, you can apply the knowledge that you learned in your respective countries and in your work,” he added.

Based on a 2010 data from the FERG report, the annual burden of foodborne diseases in Southeast Asia consists of more than 175,000 deaths and 150 million illnesses. Food safety risk analysis is an internationally-recognized approach for further reducing food-borne illness and strengthening food safety management systems. By mainstreaming food safety risk analysis, the PROSAFE project will contribute to the objectives of the ASEAN trade in goods and agreement (ATIGA) and facilitate trade between member states while strengthening co-operation in protecting human, animal or plant life and health.

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