The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with American Seed Trade and Asia and Pacific Seed Associations, held the Lower Mekong Regional Seed Workshop, June 8-10, 2021. The “Strengthening Sustainable Seed System for the Lower Mekong Countries” workshop was conducted by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) with technical expertise from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Over 70 high-ranking country representatives from the Public Seed Offices of, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia along with senior representatives from international seed organizations including OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), ISTA (International Seed Testing Association), and UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) participated. Key representatives provided updates on progress and challenges in seed trade in their countries focusing on capacities, and rules-and science-based policy environments with aim to foster cooperation and harmonization of seed policies among Lower Mekong Countries (LMCs), consistent with practices and approaches in the United States.
Conducted simultaneously in 4 languages (English, Khmer, Lao, and Vietnamese), the workshop was an effort under the MUSP Seed Sector Development project, which aims to foster cooperation and harmonization of seed policies among Lower Mekong Countries (LMCs), consistent with technical practices and approaches in the United States and in line with relevant international guidelines.
Other goals and results from this workshop include:
- Strengthened and brought awareness to seed sectors on seed trade capacities and rules-and science-based policy environments
- Promoted food and water security through fostering cooperation and harmonization of seed policies among Lower Mekong Countries (LMCs), consistent with practices and approaches in the United States and in line with relevant international guidelines
- Promoted public-private partnerships to enhance enabling environments for seed use and trade in LMCs
- Developed an action plan for capacity building activities
- Increased regional harmonization in seed policy, use, and trade through expert dialogue resulting in more food secure Mekong Region.
- Increased engagement and support between government and the private sector at country and regional level
- Increased knowledge and awareness of country representatives of progress and priorities in the region fostering regional dialogue and skill transfer