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Khon Kaen, - Mekong Institute (MI) organized a Structured Learning Visit (SLV) cum Business Matching in Thailand for the Pisciculture groups on August 15-21, 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 7-day business visit has brought the participants to the successful industrial clusters and supportive institutions in Thailand. By doing so, 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 fishing industry in Thailand; (iii) identify emerging opportunities for two-way business and market development with Thailand businesses; and (iv) establish network and linkages with different key stakeholders in Thai fishing industry

A total of 14 participants, who are SME owners and BDS providers, from 7 project provinces in the SEC, namely Battambang, Kampot, Koh Kong, and Preah Sihanouk provinces of Cambodia, Dawei district, Tanintharyi region of Myanmar, and Ca Mau and Can Tho provinces of Vietnam, joined the SLV cum Business Matching.

The participants visited 7 sites located in Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Chonburi and Rayong provinces, respectively. Specifically, the participants visited (i) the Department Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives; (ii) Mahachai Fisheries Development Cooperative; (iii) Anusorn Mahachai Surimi; (iv) the Institute of Marine Science, Burapa University Chonburi; (v) Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited - CPF Banbueng Feed Mill Chonburi; (vi) Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited – CPF Rayong; and (vii) Nuen Kor Fishing Community Learning Center. Through the SLV cum Business Matching, the participants learned about key components of Pisciculture value chain development, such as enabling environment, roles of key stakeholders and supportive institutions and technology readiness, and acquired applicable insights into best practices and success factors of successful industrial companies like Anusorn Mahachai Surimi, CPF Banbueng Feed Mill and Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company.

In addition, business matching event was jointly organized by Samut Sakhon Chamber of Commerce at the Mahachai Fisheries Development Cooperative on August 16, 2017. With this event, the participants met with various fish buyers and other business enterprises from Thailand 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.