BANGKOK, THAILAND (31 May 2017) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group on Agriculture (WGA) today opened a series of events on the theme “Discover GMS: Asia’s Natural Hub” during the Thaifex World of Food 2017 at Bangkok’s Impact Exhibition Center from 31 May to 4 June. Over 40,000 foreign and local food traders and retailers, food service and logistics providers, and consumers are expected to visit the trade fair.
The GMS Pavilion will showcase about 200 safe and environment-friendly food products by 35 small and medium-sized food companies in the subregion. Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn joined other government officials from GMS, ADB, and other development partners in officially opening the GMS Pavilion for business.
Chefs from each GMS country will also demonstrate traditional recipes using safe and environment-friendly food ingredients. GMS coffee and tea infusions will also be served for tasting at the GMS Pavilion.
Two GMS-themed policy forums under the theme “GMS as One: Regional Approaches to Food Safety and Market Access” is scheduled on 31 May and 1 June. The forums will discuss the public, private, as well as public-private initiatives toward harmonizing food safety for improved global market access of GMS food products.
“Of the multifarious food development concerns, food safety is now viewed as an integral component of food security. The forum is an opportunity to discuss innovative business to government (B2G) initiatives that the GMS can tap for enhanced global market access,” said Pavit Ramachandran, an ADB Senior Environment Specialist. “The GMS Pavilion also provides good opportunities for market matching activities within the GMS countries during the fair.”
GMS — comprised of Cambodia, People’s Republic of China (Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam — is a major food-producing region. The subregion has comparative advantages in specific food supply, built upon its abundant natural resources, low costs of production, proximity to large markets, and a variety of unique food items. These advantages have yet to be harnessed to their fullest potentials.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.