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Getting fruits and vegetables to meet international food safety standards was the missing link for small-scale producers, processors and traders in Thailand and Viet Nam to access higher-value retail and export markets.

Across value chains, it makes global business sense to implement food safety management systems, based on Codex standards. With help from the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) – a global partnership on safe trade – farmers, food businesses and government agencies in Thailand and Viet Nam have done just that through a public-private food safety partnership.

Food Safety Partnership in Action

In Thailand and Viet Nam, the starting point was to use the structured, step-by-step approach at the heart of the GFSI Global Markets Programme. This was the pathway to build capacity within primary production and food manufacturing, and implement a course of continuous improvements. It offered an unaccredited entry point for cooperatives and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to get their fresh produce into local retail and global markets.

  • More than 1,500 producers and food manufacturers achieved basic and/or intermediate level training.
  • Beneficiaries of the training reported reduced rejections, increased sales and access to new domestic and export markets.
  • Close to 100% of participants stated that the training improved their knowledge on food safety, was useful for their companies and they would recommend it to colleagues.

MSU STDF stats

JutaratThis project gave SIAM-MAKRO the tools to launch a new comprehensive food safety management programme. With this system in place, we’ve seen a downward trend in detection of contaminants and product rejections. And we’re more confident to buy from small-scale farmers and processors.”

– Ms Jutarat Pattanatorn, Assistant Director, Quality Assurance, SIAM-MAKRO

Mr Phan Quoc Manh HungBeing part of the project was a game changer for my company. It was the springboard to get HACCP and ISO22000:2005 certification. This enabled us to export fruit and vegetables to the EU, Japan and the US.”

– Mr Phan Quoc Manh Hung, Former Owner, Hung Phat Joint Stock Company, Viet Nam

Building Food Safety Systems Grassroots Up

So how can small-scale farmers, food businesses and exporters be helped to put in place effective food safety management systems that deliver continuous improvements and benefit their bottom line? How can partnerships drive sustainable food safety capacity building that opens up new markets for small operators?

With the commitment and drive of several partners, and a grant of US$581,665 from the STDF, the project followed three main steps leading to results that continue to be scaled up today.

  • Partner up – connect universities, food businesses and government authorities.

Michigan State University, Thailand’s Kasetsart University and Viet Nam’s Can Tho University teamed up with farmers, cooperatives, small and medium-sized businesses, as well as retailers such as SIAM-MAKRO, government authorities and extension services.

  • Target and tailor – design and roll out scalable training modules on key value chains, localized to the audience and sector.

Competency-based training on fresh and processed fruit and vegetable value chains focused on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), following GFSI’s Global Markets Protocol. Programmes were rolled out in local languages with both e-learning and face-to-face training to build skills development.

  • Measure results and scale-up – deliver continuous improvements and use cost-sharing to expand your reach.

Monitoring the outcomes helped to introduce continuous improvements and demonstrate concrete results. Good Agricultural Practices modules and Good Manufacturing Practices modules continue to form part of partners’ food safety management programmes. Two localized food safety e-learning platforms are freely available in Thailand and Viet Nam, where companies support suppliers to access training at no-cost. Local universities are keeping training material up-to-date, leveraging resources to scale-up food safety know-how to more farmers, processors and future exporters.

MSU STDF ThumbnailThe partnership’s results and experiences were shared at the 2017 Global Food Safety Conference’s Breakout Session on “Global Markets – capacity building agenda”.  Access the full Case Study – Building Food Safety Capacity through Public-Private Partnerships in Thailand and Viet Nam.

Learn about how STDF partners with the private sector to strengthen food safety, animal and plant health to boost trade. Get in touch to see how you can benefit from STDF’s network at STDFSecretariat@wto.org

This post was written and contributed by:

STDF EnglishMarlynne Hopper
Economic Affairs Officer
Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF)

This project was led in collaboration with Michigan State University. Special thanks to:

Deepa Thiagarajan
Director, Global Agri-Food Standards and Value Chain Programs
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Michigan State University

Leslie D. Bourquin
Professor and Food Safety Specialist
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Michigan State University

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