Written by Mekong Institute

The Smallholder Development Project (SHDP) and Mekong Institute (MI) agreed to collaborate on a specific project to develop partnership and promote cooperation between the two parties. A four-day structured learning visit on “Rice Production Value Chain in Northeast, Thailand” was conducted from 26 to 29 January 2011 for twenty-three (23) Lao government officials, rice Structured Learning Visit aims to study the Rice production Chain as well as study the roles of Rice Seed Center, Central Market, and Private/Cooperative Rice mills in the value chain.

Two MI facilitators were involved in organizing the program, facilitating discussions, and sharing experiences with the participants. The participants visited four places in Khon Kaen province and one place in Roi Et province, Thailand in order to enhance their understanding on the program contents and to apply the principles, processes, structures, and best practices learned during the entire visit. At the end of the Structured Learning Visit, the participants presented their reflections on the visit.

The results of the evaluation showed that the Structured Learning Visit was successful both in terms of program design and contents, and overall organization and management. However, there was a suggestion for improvement on the need for resource persons to elaborate and explain more on how to identify, analyze and solve the problems after the field visit presentations of the participants.

The participants also indicated further training needs on expanding rice seed work into private sector as well as establishment of cooperative group. Specifically, the participants expressed the need to acquire advanced technical training on maize production, marketing channel, quality control services and management. The participants also mentioned that the involvement of financial providers is important and the staff from those organizations should be included in the program.  

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