A group of reporters from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam are being trained on reporting on food safety issues as part of a programme funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme.
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The five-day media training, running from July 29 to August 2, is being held at the Mekong Institute in Khon Kaen province, in northeastern Thailand.
The programme seeks to foster collaboration among media practitioners and communication officers from relevant sectors by forming a regional network of food safety reporters, said Dwight Jason Ronan, course leader at the Mekong Institute.
“The programme mainly aims to strengthen participants’ awareness and understanding of key food safety concepts, related global and local issues, and existing best practices in the region,” said Mr Ronan.
Twenty-eight print press, radio, television, and government media outlets professionals are attending the training.
In its third edition, the programme focuses on CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) to raise journalists’ interest in covering food safety issues so that they can raise awareness back home.
It features presentations from food safety experts in Thailand and field visits to agricultural farms that follow good agricultural practices (GAP) and markets, as well as interviews with various stakeholders in Khon Kaen province.
In Cambodia, four ministries are generally involved in the promotion of quality and safe food – Agriculture, Industry and Handicrafts, Commerce, and Health.
A directive on good agriculture practice was issued in 2010 to promote GAP on fruit and vegetable production. That same year, the government issued another directive on the implementation of food safety based on the ‘farm-to-table’ approach.
However, Cambodia is still lagging in several issues, including strengthening institutional capacity, engaging the private sector and raising producer and consumer awareness.