Report: Women on Productivity Tools and Techniques for Micro and Small Agrifood Processing Business Workshop, November 16-20, 2015, Malaysia

Group Photo

Group Photo

Women are pillars to the development of micro and small enterprises in various countries. They generate income to augment their family’s daily needs. Main activities include handicraft production, retail and food processing to mention a few. Most often, these women do not have formal trainings in their business planning as well as management. For those who are into food businesses, some do not have food safety management training which is essential in the business to be sustained and to expand. It is thus, important to support these women entrepreneurs in agrifood handling and processing not only for their business to succeed but also to protect their diverse customers. Before this result, it is necessary to develop the competency of trainers to conduct effective training for women entrepreneurs on different productivity and management tools.


At the end of the 5-day workshop, I will be able to:

a. Understand the roles of women in the economic activity of the country;
b. Fully understand the productivity improvement tools;
c. Make use of the productivity tools in the company I am working for;
d. Fully implement the tools and technique in our agri-food business by the year first quarter of 2016;
e. Teach the productivity tools to partners, beneficiaries and stakeholders


There were four resource persons from Philippines, Thailand and India and from Malaysia. Workshop participants were nineteen women coming from Bangladesh (2); Cambodia (1); China (2); Fiji (1); Iran (1); Indonesia (1); Lao PDR (1); Malaysia (1); Nepal (1); Pakistan (1); Philippines (1); Sri Lanka (1); Thailand (2); and Vietnam (2).


The main topics are Productivity tools: Kaizen and 5s; Food Safety and success story of a woman entrepreneur in India.

The workshop started with introduction to APO, member countries and their projects by Dr. Shaikh Tanveer Hossain.

Ms. Chayaa Nanjappa presented the emerging opportunities and challenges to women entrepreneurs in Asia and trends in women’s participation in rural enterprise development. She was a successful honey processor in India. She also lectured on planning and starting a micro and small agrifood processing enterprises wherein she tackled the issues, challenges and strategies of women entrepreneurs.

Kaizen (continuous improvement) and 5S were introduced by the APO certified productivity practitioner, Ms. Nina Estudillo from the Philippines.

Food safety and quality management tools were taught by Ms. Darunee Edwards, President of Food Science and Technology Association in Thailand.

A Malaysian woman entrepreneur, producing various pre-mixed rice products with spices, Ms. Rohani Borhan of Sharifah Food Industries discussed the success model of her business. She pointed out that even a family woman can lead an enterprise based on passion (cooking, in her case). Her company is FSSC 22000 certified.

On the third day of the workshop, country papers were presented. There were a total of 14 presenters.

On the fourth day, we visited a company owned by a woman. The company manufactures biscuit, Noraini Cookie Worldwide Sdn Bhd. We have heard how she made it through her business, the challenges she fearlessly took and her success. We were able to observe her processing plant and presented by group our observations and suggestions for improvement.


As much as I have gained new friends and opened new networks, I have learned a lot in the workshop. The resource persons were really equipped and are very generous in providing information to us. For me, the way they imparted their knowledge got me engaged (especially in kaizen practice and 5s and made me more eager to go back home and share everything to my colleagues as well as to the women beneficiaries of our company projects. Ms. Nanjappa, the woman entrepreneur of India was really inspiring and made me more focused and driven in our business. I can really say to APO that this workshop is instrumental in building a more empowered woman in me.


I will apply the Kaizen principle in my own workplace by reinforcing 5S and quality management to all our staff. I will do lecture on productivity improvement to all my colleagues and staff; I will be contacting the DSWD-4Ps of our community and will provide free lecture on productivity, kaizen and 5S to the women beneficiaries; after a year or two, I will keep our company open for site visits for the future APO projects that will be based in the country.


Vice-President for Export Marketing
Lao Integrated Farms, Inc.
Email: donnalaopadre @



One thought on “Report: Women on Productivity Tools and Techniques for Micro and Small Agrifood Processing Business Workshop, November 16-20, 2015, Malaysia

  1. Dr Shaikh Tanveer Hossain says:

    Hi Donna….happy to see your comprehensive report. I am look forward to hear your follow-up action programs. Be fine. From: Dr. Tanveer, APO Secretariat, Tokyo.

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