Agricultural Development and Commercialization

Vientiane, September 7, 2023 – Marking another project milestone for PROSAFE, Mekong Institute (MI) gathered alumni and partners from Lao PDR for a knowledge-sharing event aimed at identifying key strategies to effectively address food safety challenges in the country.

Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department of MI, encouraged the participants to share knowledge, expertise, and experiences to set forth the necessary courses of action for cultivating a food safety culture in the country.

“Far beyond celebrating achievements and sharing best practices and invaluable lessons learned from this project, our objective for today is to identify concrete, actionable strategies that can help propel our envisioned food safety culture forward,” said Ms. Medialdia during the program.

Dr. Sithong Phiphakhavong, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Lao PDR, delivered a keynote address focusing on the need for strong food safety measures. He highlighted the challenges confronting the country and shared the importance of tapping into opportunities that encourage collaborative actions.

“Foodborne illnesses cast a shadow of adversity, affecting individuals, communities, and economies alike. Globally and nationally, we must unite to ensure safe food for all. This ultimately safeguards the health and well-being of our citizens and the prosperity of our communities,” said Dr. Phiphakhavong.

Participants outlined sector-specific action plans for strengthening the food safety culture in the country during an interactive workshop. The discussions focused on identifying innovative solutions, sharing success stories, and shaping collaborative initiatives. Attendees put forward various courses of action, aiming to implement effective food safety controls, raise public awareness of food safety, and further strengthen capacity-building in food safety management.

Dr. Viengxay Vansilalom, Deputy Director General of the country’s Food and Drug Department, the partner of PROSAFE in holding many of its in-country activities in Lao PDR, expressed gratitude to MI and the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP) for its support in enhancing the capacity of stakeholders in the agri-food sector on food safety.

PROSAFE (Promoting Safe Food for Everyone) is Mekong Institute’s extensive, multi-year initiative aimed at fortifying the food safety management infrastructures across Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam (collectively known as CLMV). This project advocates an integrated method to enhance capacity-building with support from the New Zealand Aid Programme.

PROSAFE facilitated comprehensive food safety training modules, empowering CLMV stakeholders with knowledge and practical skills. The capacity-building activities are designed to ensure the highest standards of food safety at each stage of the supply chain, from agricultural production right through consumers’ plates.

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