BINH DUONG (VNS)— Agricultural extension officials and farm owners from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam have taken part in an ASEAN training course for intensive coffee and cashew farming techniques in Binh Duong Province.
Organised by the National Agricultural Extension Centre, it is part of the ASEAN co-operation programme in agricultural training and extension for 2012-15.
The course provided a forum for trainees to discuss and share experiences on all aspects of coffee and cashew production such as selection of seedlings, disease control, and harvest, processing and preservation techniques.
They visited cashew and coffee model farms, a cashew processing plant in Binh Phuoc Province, and a cashew research centre and a coffee processing plant in Dong Nai Province.
Mai Thanh Phung, chief of the National Agriculture Extension Centre's HCM City office, said the country's coffee and cashew industries had developed strongly in recent years, greatly helping improve farmers' earnings.
Last year for the first time Viet Nam surpassed Brazil to become the largest robusta coffee exporter, accounting for some 70 per cent of all shipments.
Dang Hoang Giang, general secretary of the Viet Nam Cashew Association, said the country had been the world's largest cashew exporter since 2006.
Viet Nam has around 1,000 companies that can process around one million tonnes of raw cashew nuts annually.
The country is expected to export around 250,000 tonnes of nuts worth $1.5 billion this year, slightly up from 2012.
"Despite such achievements, the coffee and cashew industries face difficulties, including degradation of plants resulting in decreased yields, farmers preferring other trees for higher profits, diseases, and others," Phung said.
Besides, they mainly exported raw products, which offered low value, he said.
He said the industries should adopt comprehensive measures to improve productivity and quality and improve their global competitiveness. — VNS