With over 500 attendants from different food producing value chains, Food Safety Forum 2019 was a successful event where all the stakeholders such as regulatory bodies, private sector, consumers, investors and non-government organizations met under the same roof to align the understandings, exchange the dialogues and brainstorm together to overcome the current challenges in improving the food safety conditions in Myanmar agri-food and food sector.
U Kyaw Thu Htet, CEO of Myanmar Innovative Life Sciences - MILS, highlighted the importance of agri-food sector in Myanmar economy and its urgent need to create safer, higher value products in his forum welcome speech. Keynote speech of the forum was delivered by Prof. Dr. Khin Zaw, Director General of Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) followed by Dr. Stephan Paul Jost, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Myanmar.
Ajay Pohare, Head of Quality Assurance, Metro Wholesale Myanmar spoke about how private companies such as Metro Wholesale Myanmar are taking food safety as a serious topic understanding its importance. Mayra Cladera, Agricultural Affairs Officer, USDA, US Embassy Yangon added how working together efficiently with international communities can achieve the goals faster. Full speeches can be viewed in the video below.
During the first panel, the participating panelists discussed about the current food safety landscape in Myanmar in various contexts to define the current stakeholders and align the understandings of challenges. The second panel discussion was based on the previously aligned understanding of current food safety landscape in Myanmar. The panelists including those from regulatory bodies such as FDA and Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) put heads together in this multi-stakeholder dialogue sharing ideas to overcome the various challenges while implementing the food safety framework in Myanmar. Full panel discussions can be viewed below.
After the lunch, four parallel breakout session workshops drew attention from private sector such as producers, processors and handlers such as hotels and restaurants. GMP and HACCP in Food Processing workshop conducted by Dr. Swe Swe Win was the most popular among the small and medium food producers and processors who are trying to uplift their production and quality standards. Food Labeling and Consumer Relations led by U Maung Maung of Myanmar Consumers Union was mostly attended by established companies who are trying to update their knowledge on the topic.
One of the most interactive session with questions and dialogues from the attendants was facilitated by U Ye Htut Naing, Director, Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Commerce. The last workshop Food Hygiene and Sanitation conducted by Daw Si Si Win of FoSTA Myanmar trained chefs and food handlers from restaurants and hotels who are working towards enhancing their food safety practices.
In a nutshell, Food Safety Forum 2019 (Producers Assembly) was an impactful event which successfully initiated a multi-stakeholder PRINC platform (Producers, Regulators, Investors, NGOs and Consumers) for the first time in Myanmar with a model focused on creating a learning environment for producers to produce safer, higher value products.
On behalf of the co-organizers, sponsor organizations and companies, we would like to say a very warm thank you to all the attendants and participants including members of parliament, government officials, special guests, trainers, facilitators, volunteers and anyone who involved in the process of making this forum happen.
We look forward to see you next year with more programs and activities.