Banking on the significant potential of the country’s agriculture and food industry, Mekong Institute (MI) and Myanmar Innovative Life Sciences (MILS) collaborated on World Food Safety Day 2023 to organize a food safety event titled “Leveraging on Food Standards to Improve Market Access”, which was held on June 7, 2023 in Yangon, Myanmar.
Held under the theme “Food Standards Save Lives,” the event aimed to promote a deeper understanding of food standards and emphasize their significance in market systems. Stakeholders convened to explore strategies for stimulating an environment conducive to better adherence to these standards.
“Food standards are a mark of confidence as enterprises do business with only those that share the same commitment to good-quality and safe food. It is, therefore, crucial for Myanmar to focus on meeting international food safety and quality standards to leverage product potential in the global market,” emphasized Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of MI’s Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, during her opening remarks. She further underscored the importance of sharing knowledge, experiences, and insights for advancing Myanmar’s agri-food sector through increased compliance with food standards.
Esteemed experts from various food safety agencies were invited to discuss their experiences in supporting SMEs to comply with global food safety standards and enhance trade opportunities. Representatives included those from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations World Food Program (WFP), Scaling up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) Myanmar, AYA Bank, Food Science and Technology Association (FOSTA), International Trade Center (ITC), and Shan Orchard.
Mr. Kyaw Thu Htet, Chief Executive Officer of MILS, shared in his welcome address that the forum hopes to help professionals across different segments of the food production industry acquire a thorough grasp of essential standards involved in the food production process. By promoting advancements in these standards, the event seeks to expand market opportunities and elevate the overall quality of food products.
The event is part of the PROSAFE World Food Safety Day celebration which is being supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP). The five-year project has been enhancing the capacity of SMEs to adopt and comply with food safety standards, regulations, and best practices. This includes fostering better understanding, knowledge, and skills among stakeholders related to good manufacturing practices (GMP), good hygiene practices (GHP), and hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), among others.