Policies support socio-economic development in mountain regions

(VOVworld) – Over the past two years, a number of programs supporting ethnic minority people in mountain regions have succeeded thanks to government efforts to strengthen international cooperation and support for those programs. Financial resources have been devoted to economic growth, healthcare, education, training, and social issues, thereby reducing poverty and improving local living conditions.

Policies support socio-economic development in mountain regions - ảnh 1
Supporting ethnic minority people with farming land to earn their living.
 (Photo: dantocmiennui.vn)

In recent years, the Vietnamese government has devoted part of its budget to social security programs in ethnic minority areas.

Last year alone, the National Assembly Standing Committee allocated 240 million USD to social security projects in ethnic regions, focusing on land for farming, productivity, and safe water.

At a conference on investment and economic development, 180 non-governmental organizations, and domestic and foreign enterprises pledged to invest in ethnic minority areas until 2020.

Bac Giang is one province that has used the financial assistance resources effectively. Chu Quy Minh, Deputy Director of Bac Giang’s provincial Department of Ethnic Affairs, said the province “concentrated on agricultural development in the direction of combining goods production and crop and animal restructuring based on zone planning suitable to each village and commune to fully tap their advantages. Agriculture and craft industry have been prioritized while trading has been linked to handicrafts in rural areas. We’ve also focused on hard currency earners in ethnic and mountain regions.”

Policies support socio-economic development in mountain regions - ảnh 2
Ethnic people are provided with farming techniques to increase productivity and crop quality. (Photo: dantocmiennui.vn)

Over the past 5 years, Loc Huong Export-Import Company has worked with residents and authorities in Yen Bai and Son La province to boost local farm products.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, the company’s Director General, said many of Vietnamese agricultural products have high economic values and are much sought after by foreigners. Tao meo or green crab apple, the wild fruit in Vietnam's northwest mountains, is an example. But Huong said it requires multifaceted support for farmers, especially in farming techniques to turn “tao meo” fruit into an export item of high profit.

“The first step is to instruct local ethnic farmers how to grow and tell them not to destroy the trees after each harvest. The second step is to put the collected fruits into processing. We’ve directed ethnic women to apply science and technology to production and told them the importance of making qualified products in line with foreign partners’ requirements,” Huong noted.

The Mr. Sach supermarket chain has cooperated with farmers in Hoa Binh, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, and neighboring areas to develop a closed, safe food supply model for Hanoi residents. Nguyen Quang Huy, the system’s managing director, said fully tapping the advantages of ethnic minority regions is one of the company’s long-term strategies.

But Huy said there remain many obstacles to increasing ethnic farmers’ incomes.“Weather conditions, cultivation habits, and transportation from mountainous to lowland areas make it harder to preserve products. We’ve coordinated with local agencies and the breeding and farming center to help local people understand what a safe product is. We’ll try to find outlets for local products,” Huy noted.

Policies support socio-economic development in mountain regions - ảnh 3
Building irrigational works. (Photo: dantocmiennui.vn)

Nguyen Quang Duc, Director of the International Cooperation Department of the Government Committee on Ethnic Affairs, said policies to support ethnic minority areas, together with active involvement of enterprises and producers, have helped reduce the poverty rate by 4% in ethnic minority areas, while their living conditions have greatly improved.

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