New-style rural area development program improves life in Ben Tre

(VOVWORLD) - Ben Tre province in the Mekong Delta region contains vast groves of green coconut trees and a maze of canals and rivers connecting villages and floating markets. People there, though living in difficult circumstances, have cooperated with local authorities in building new-style rural areas.
New-style rural area development program improves life in Ben Tre  - ảnh 1Farmers in Ben Tre province become better-off thanks to green skin pomelo.

Wide, smooth concretized inter-communal roads, prospering trade, and improved living conditions have resulted from the program. Thanks to state and local efforts, 21 out of 147 communes have been recognized as new-style rural areas. A leader of the movement is the provincial War Veterans’ Association, which, over the past 2 years, has raised 530,000 USD, donated 65,000 square meters of land, and volunteered 22,000 man-days to build 164 bridges and other community projects.

Nguyen Van Luc, Chairman of the War Veterans’ Association in Son Hoa commune, Chau Thanh district, said: “War veterans have contributed land, money, and labor to building roads. They have done well in implementing the new-style rural area development program under the district’s guidance”.

Ben Tre province faces a number of problems: deteriorating roads and bridges and environmental pollution caused by conventional farming models. But local authorities and residents have worked together to address these problems, according to Duong Van Chuong, Vice Chairman of Giong Trom district’s People’s Committee: “We have called on people to continue donating money to upgrade infrastructure and publicize the benefits of the program. The current cow farming model generates economic profits but also causes environmental pollution, so we’ve tried to promote biogas reservoirs which recycle cow dung.”

New-style rural area development program improves life in Ben Tre  - ảnh 2Bonsai business generates Ben Tre farmers economic profits. 

Better infrastructure and trade have improved local people’s lives. Per capita annual income has increased from 750 to 1,400 USD, and the percentage of poor households has fallen below 10%.  

Ben Tre province is trying to have 45 more communes to be recognized by 2020, when it also hopes to claim Cho Lach as a new-style rural district and Ben Tre as a new-style rural city. The province is focused on programs to boost local incomes.

Nguyen Huu Lap, Vice Chairman of the Ben Tre provincial People’s Committee, told VOV: “We’ve combined a number of solutions, including communications to let people know the purpose of the new-style rural area development program. People should be the masters, with a clear understanding of what they’re responsible for and what the administrators are in charge of. The main goals are to increase people’s incomes, restructure agriculture, and join product chains.”

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