APEC 2022: Thailand to Enhance MSME’s Competitiveness through Food Sector Waste Reduction
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand joined hands with the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) and Thailand’s APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) to organize an APEC Workshop on “Enhancing Green MSMEs’ Competitiveness for a Sustainable and Inclusive Asia Pacific: Food Sector Waste Reduction in Food Supply Chain” during 13-14 January 2022 in a hybrid format at the Sukosol Hotel, Bangkok.
Mr. Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, opened the workshop, and food-waste-management experts from APEC member economies and relevant international organisations shared best practices on promoting waste reduction in MSMEs’ food supply chain and a digitally-enabled, environment-friendly business model to avoid food waste in APEC and enhance competitiveness. The workshop underlined the concept of the Bio-Circular-Green Economy, the overarching thinking driving APEC 2022 Thailand.
Key takeaways include: (1) Reducing food waste in MSMEs food sector can be challenging in terms of cost and capacity limitation. Public-private partnership, modern technology and digital solutions and regional platforms for knowledge sharing and capacity building are key to supporting MSMEs reduce food waste. Examples of modern technologies for food waste management include, among others, food sharing applications, smart bins that recognize different types of waste or technology that enables commercial kitchens to track and avoid food waste; (2) Food waste reduction requires a holistic approach that engages all stakeholders in the value chain. Prevention is of utmost importance in food waste management, it is prioritised over reduction and recovery, and (3) Maximizing food utilization and turning waste into wealth are also important and in alignment with the Bio-Circular-Green economy.
Following this Workshop, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand will publish an APEC Handbook on Enhancing MSMEs’ Food Waste Reduction for a Sustainable and Inclusive Asia-Pacific incorporating ideas and suggestions raised during the workshop. The handbook will be made available on APEC official website (www.apec.org) around the third quarter of 2022.