Agricultural extension officials and farm owners from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam have taken part in an ASEAN training course for intensive coffee and cashew farming techniques in the southern province of Binh Duong.

Organised by the National Agricultural Extension Centre, it is part of the ASEAN cooperation 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 Ho Chi Minh 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 Vietnam surpassed Brazil to become the largest robusta coffee exporter, accounting for some 70 percent of all shipments.

Dang Hoang Giang, general secretary of the Vietnam Cashew Association, said the country has been the world's largest cashew exporter since 2006.

Vietnam 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 USD this year, slightly up from 2012.-VNA