Written by Mekong Institute  

The Mekong Institute was commissioned by the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) to conduct a twelve-day training course on “Postharvest Practices: Experiences and Best Practices in New Zealand and Thailand” from 14-25 October 2013. Fifteen government officials from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam participated in the training program. The course objective is to increase the awareness of the participants on several ways to reduce losses in the production and marketing of agricultural products. The course was held at the MI Residential Training Facility in Khon Kaen with field visits on three sites, i.e., SWIFT Fruit and Vegetable Processing Company and Postharvest Technology Center (PHTC) in Nakhon Pathom Province, and Talaad Thai Wholesale Market in Pathumthani Province.

The training course was designed and delivered using modular training approach, of which, all participants went through three progressive stages: a) “Learn to do” – training on concepts, techniques and tools; b) “Do to learn” – participants are required to apply what they have learned in given exercises and group assignments with proper coaching from Resource Persons and facilitators; and c) “Share to learn” – participants had an opportunity to present their group works and share their learning experiences and lessons learned.
There are two sets of Resource Persons who contributed to the design and delivery of the lectures, workshops and structured learning visits, namely:

A. Lecture Resource Persons

  • Dr. Nigel Banks, Postharvest Expert of Postharvest. Co Limited, New Zealand
  • Assoc. Prof.Dr. Sungcom Techawongstien, Lecturer of Horticulture Division, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kean University, Thailand
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Manit Kosittrakun, Lecturer of Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Khon Kaen University, Thailand

B. Field Visit Resource Persons

  • Mr. Setthapat Choobut, Assoc. Manager of Talaad Thai Wholesale Market, Thailand
  • Ms. Paphavee Suthavivat, Managing Director of SWIFT Fruit and Vegetable Processing Company, Thailand
  • Dr. Apita Bunsiri, Ph.D, Researcher of Postharvest Technology Center, Thailand
The training course was comprised of five interrelated modules. Module 1 on “A Better World through Postharvest Systems” introduced the participants to current levels of postharvest losses in different parts of the world. Module 2 on “Delivering Perfect Eating Experiences” delivered the knowledge on dimensions of quality in harvested fresh produce and ways in which quality can be managed to secure high performing batches of products. Module 3 on “Postharvest Physiology” introduced key physiological processes in harvested produce. Module 4 on “Postharvest Technologies” illustrated dimensions of postharvest technology. Module 5 on “Indigenous Postharvest Practices in Thailand” demonstrated best practices in postharvest handling employed by product handlers.

The evaluation conducted throughout the course confirmed that the objectives were achieved and the learning program was successful. Most of the participants were very satisfied with the program as shown in the total average rating by participants on the usefulness of the learning program at 4.27 and the overall assessment at 4.67. Using a scale of 1 to 5, this indicated that participants found the training program “very useful” and they were “very satisfied” with the program contents and overall training management.

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