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Khon Kaen - Mekong Institute (MI) organized a Structured Learning Visit (SLV) cum Business Matching in Thailand for agribusiness group on September 10 – 16, 2017. The SLV cum Business Matching is part of the project on “Enhancing Competiveness of SMEs in the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) of ASEAN Mekong Subregion (AMS),” funded by Japan – ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

The SLV cum Business Matching aimed to provide the participants with an important opportunity to (i) have direct exposure to the successful industrial clusters and value chain integration models in Thailand; (ii) understand state-of-the-art production systems, including packaging, processing, standards and certification process, quality control technologies, research and development (R&D), skill development, and input suppliers in the agribusiness sector in Thailand; (iii) identify emerging opportunities for twoway business and market development with Thai businesses; and (iv) establish network and linkages with different key stakeholders in Thai agribusiness sector.

A total of 20 participants, who are SME owners and Business Development Service (BDS) providers from 11 project provinces in the SEC, namely Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Svay Rieng provinces of Cambodia, Chanthaburi, Kanchanaburi, Prachinburi, Ratchaburi, Sa-Kaeo and Trat provinces of Thailand and Tay Ninh province of Vietnam, joined the SLV cum Business Matching.

The participants visited 7 sites located in Petchabun, Phitsanulok, Lampang and Chaing Mai provinces, respectively. Specifically, the participants visited (i) the Chul Cunvong (the company that is specialized in silk production and organic fruit farming and processing); (ii) Khao Ko Talay Phu (natural farm); (iii) the Center for Agricultural Biotechnology, Naresuan University; (iv) Impress Rice (Organic Rice Community Enterprise); (v) Chaipattana Foundation Baan Koh Kut; (vi) Baan Wan Zomza Community Enterprise; and (vii) Lampang Ceramic Association and Lampang Ceramic Cluster. Through the SLV cum Business Matching, the participants learned about key components of the respective value chains, input management, food safety, processing, packaging, certification, lab, export and import procedures, R&D and advanced technology in farming production and business.

In addition, business matching event was jointly organized by Samaphan SME and Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) Phitsanulok on September 13, 2017. With this event, the participants met with several buyers and other business enterprises from Phitsanulok province and discussed further business collaboration and development.

On the last day of the SLV, the participants made wrap-up presentations to reflect the results and findings of the SLV cum Business Matching and how they are going to apply acquired knowledge for the further development of their clusters. MI will monitor and follow up on the progress of the business collaboration and development and knowledge application by participants, and provide technical assistance to them throughout the course of the project.