ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ASEAN coffee, cashew training course begins
BINH DUONG – Agricultural extension officials and farm owners from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam are taking part in an ASEAN training course for intensive coffee and cashew farming techniques that began in Binh Duong Province on September 16.
Organised by the National Agricultural Extension Centre, it is part of the ASEAN co-operation programme in agricultural training and extension for 2012-15.
To run until September 21, it will provide 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 will visit 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.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mai Thanh Phung, chief of the National Agriculture Extension Centre's HCM City office, said the country's coffee and cashew industries have 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 has 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, he said.
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 export raw products, which offer low value, he said.
He said the industries should adopt comprehensive measures to improve productivity and quality and improve their global competitiveness.
He listed measures like zoning to achieve dedicated cultivation areas, use of advanced technologies in farming, harvest, processing, and preservation, and building brands
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