Synthesis Workshop Unveils Lancang-Mekong Business Forum Successes and Future Directions

In a bid to capitalize on the progress of the transformative Lancang-Mekong Business Forums (LMBF) spanning 2018 to 2024, Mekong Institute, in close cooperation with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, hosted a Synthesis and Evaluation Workshop on March 15, 2024, in Khon Kaen, Thailand. This workshop aimed to spotlight the successes and best practices stemming from the six business forums held across the region while soliciting invaluable input from key stakeholders to shape future directions.

MI, with support from the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund (LMCSF) and in coordination with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, has organized six LMBFs since 2018, serving as pivotal platforms for facilitating business collaborations, exchanging information on technology and innovative products, and promoting investment among SMEs in LM countries including Cambodia, P. R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The workshop welcomed previous forum co-organizers, entrepreneurs, governmental agencies, business associations, and research institutes actively engaged in shaping policies, trade, investment, and technology advancements within the agri-business and food processing sector across the LM region. 

During the workshop, the survey and evaluation results of the LMBF project were presented. Out of the 631 participants across the six forums, 78% represented the private sector, while 22% came from the public sector. Remarkably, these forums led to significant outcomes: 69% of participants initiated business collaborations, 17% organized activities jointly, 14% embarked on joint investments, 10% facilitated technology transfer, 7% contributed to policy improvement and joint research and development efforts, and 4% signed and implemented business contracts with partners met during the forums. Additionally, over 68% of respondents valued the forums for facilitating business contacts during the events.

In addition, the workshop participants engaged in focused discussions, identifying regional market trends and issues in the agri-food processing sector, and proposing innovative project ideas to enhance SME preparedness and competitiveness. Consensus emerged on the importance of healthy and organic foods, requiring innovative and sustainable practices. Delegates suggested collaborative capacity-building programs among governments, research institutes, and trade agencies to promote awareness, enhance skills, and facilitate technology transfer.

Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Director of the Trade and Investment Facilitation Department at MI expressed his gratitude to project partners for their invaluable support and contribution. He commended all the stakeholders involved for the fruitful business alliances and partnerships forged throughout the series of forums. He said that the forums have been successful in bringing together stakeholders from various sectors. He further stressed the importance of the workshop as a means for participants to exchange feedback on their experiences and foster further collaboration. 

Ms. Yang Ning, Deputy Consulate General of P. R. China in Khon Kaen, highlighted the positive contribution of MI in promoting the potential of people and corporations to contribute to the LM region. She acknowledged the growing role of MI in the LMC community, playing a vital role in fostering shared prosperity among LM countries.

The workshop’s insights are set to steer future cooperation avenues, aiming to elevate the agri-business and food processing industry in the region to unprecedented heights. The workshop concluded with the formulation and drafting of promising projects aimed at enhancing productivity and competitiveness in the agribusiness sector across the LM region.

MI has been at the forefront of fostering collaboration among LM countries, promoting SME linkages with large enterprises, and integrating them into regional and global value chains through the LMBF project. To learn more, visit

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