By The Nation
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group on Agriculture have opened a series of events on the theme “Discover GMS: Asia’s Natural Hub” during “THAIFEX World of Food” at the Impact Exhibition Centre from Thursday to Sunday.
More than 40,000 foreign and local food traders and retailers, food-service and logistics providers, and consumers are expected to visit the trade fair.
The GMS Pavilion will showcase about 200 safe and environment-friendly food products by 35 small and medium-sized food companies in the subregion.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn joined other government officials from the GMS, the ADB, and other development partners in officially opening the GMS Pavilion for business.
Chefs from each GMS country will also demonstrate traditional recipes using safe and environment-friendly food ingredients. GMS coffee and tea infusions will also be served for tasting at the GMS Pavilion.
Two GMS-themed policy forums under the theme “GMS as One: Regional Approaches to Food Safety and Market Access” were scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The forums will discuss the public, private, and public-private initiatives towards harmonising food safety for improved access of GMS food products to global markets
“Of the multifarious food-development concerns, food safety is now viewed as an integral component of food security,” said Pavit Ramachandran, an ADB senior environment specialist. “The forum is an opportunity to discuss innovative business-to-government initiatives that the GMS can tap for enhanced global market access.
“The GMS Pavilion also provides good opportunities for market matching activities within the GMS countries during the fair.”
The GMS – comprising Cambodia, China’s Yunnan province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – is a major food-producing region. The subregion has comparative advantages in specific food supply, built upon its abundant natural resources, low costs of production, proximity to large markets, and a variety of unique food items. These advantages have yet to be harnessed to their fullest potentials.
The ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
Established in 1966, the ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.
Last year, ADB assistance totalled US$31.7 billion (Bt1.08 trillion), including $14 billion in co-financing.