Dr. Siree Chaiseri, Dean of the Faculty of Agro-Industries of Kasetsart Univeristy
It is with great pleasure that I open this workshop which is jointly organised by FAO and Kasetsart University.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Many of you here today are involved with confectionery production, either as processors, or as trainers of small processors engaged in confectionery production. The confectionery sector is still largely based on the use of traditional knowledge that has been handed down through generations. It makes use of raw materials such as fruits, nuts and dairy products that are produced locally in many countries across the region. Confectionery production adds value to these raw materials and makes a significant contribution to employment and income generation for many small processors in this region.
The food sector in this region is, however, undergoing quite a lot of change with growth in supermarkets, rising incomes and more demanding consumers who are concerned about the quality and safety of the food they consume. Your products must, therefore, be able to compete against the many new products that are currently being introduced into the region, if consumers are to continue to consume them.
But what are the factors required to keep your products competitive? These include, but are not limited to the following: ability to meet consumer requirements for quality, safety and emerging concerns such as environmental sustainability; access to technology and infrastructure; strengthened business linkages with chain partners; ability to innovate; access to finance and well trained operators.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The objective of this workshop is to provide you as trainers with the knowledge and skills to upgrade practices in the production of local, ethnic, and traditional confectionery, in order to allow you transfer good practices to small processors in your respective countries, thereby generating a multiplier effect. A programme framework and an action plan for upgrading local, ethnic, and traditional confectionery processing will also be developed as a basis for further work of FAO on the subject in this region.
I note that you represent seven countries in the region - Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. I, therefore, encourage you to use the opportunity of your being here, to network with your colleagues from across the region.
I would like to express our sincere thanks to Kasetsart University and specifically to Dr. Siree Chaiseri for the collaboration they have had with us in preparing for and hosting this workshop. It is our hope that this collaboration will continue and grow even stronger in the future.
In closing I would like to wish you a productive outcome to this training programme.