On December 10–14, GFSI was honoured to serve as a resource in a training-of-trainers programme conducted by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), the Lao National Productivity Organisation and the Lao Department of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion in Lao PDR. APO is a regional intergovernmental organisation operating for over 50 years to contribute to the sustainable socioeconomic development of Asia and Pacific through enhancing productivity.
The five-day workshop titled “Quality Standards for Agricultural Products to Enhance Market Access,” allowed participants to learn about best practices from an international panel of experts such as Ryoko Matsuda, the representative from GFSI and The Consumer Goods Forum. Participants at the workshop and accompanying field visit hailed from 16 of APO’s 20 member countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
GFSI contributed a presentation on the concepts, principles and features of quality standards, with a focus on the rising global demand for certified products. The presentation emphasised the critical role of quality standards in ensuring the safety of food, as well as their importance in gaining access to business opportunities in overseas markets.
The venue of the APO programme made its topic especially relevant. Lao PDR is a predominantly agricultural economy with the potential to export large amounts of agricultural products, and more producers in the country are now seeking to meet international quality standards. By building capacity in quality management and food safety, Lao PDR and other APO member countries could drive GDP growth and gain a surer foothold in the global market.