New rural development in Huoi Leng commune, Dien Bien province

(VOVworld) – Huoi Leng is a disadvantaged mountain commune in Muong Cha district, Dien Bien province. In recent years, the commune has strived to fulfill its socio-economic targets and 10% of its 200 poor households have escaped poverty. The improvement is due to changes in people’s production habits and views.

New rural development in Huoi Leng commune, Dien Bien province  - ảnh 1
People in Huoi Leng commune tend palm trees to raise Kerria lacca Keer (photo:

Huoi Leng covers an area of 10,000 hectares and has a population of 2,500 people, mainly of the H’Mong ethnic group. They grow rice and corn on hillsides and their productivity is not very high.

Huoi Leng’s soil and weather are favorable for raising Kerria lacca Keer, a kind of insect that lives on palm trees and produces a shellac used in fine arts and medicine.

Raising Kerria lacca Keer entail heavy production costs and is not as difficult as farm work. Locals just have to rezone forest land to raise Kerria lacca Keer and harvest shellac.

Since they began raising Kerria lacca Keer, H’Mong people no longer burn the forests to create terraced fields. Bare hills have been recovered with palm trees. Kerria lacca Keer raising areas have expanded to 300 hectares. Traders come to Huoi Leng to buy shellac at high prices, sometimes as high as 150 USD per kg. Hang Say Dua, Chairman of the Huoi Leng People’s Committee, says: “About 200 H’Mong households have become better-off from raising Kerria lacca Keer. H’Mong people now have access to education and mass media and their knowledge has improved. Their lives have improved remarkably.”

Ho Thi Dinh says her family’s average annual income is 2,500 USD and their lives are now much better. “We sell shellac and have enough money to afford to send my children to school and buy a motorbike. Last season, I had enough money to buy 3 horses and 5 buffaloes. Growing rice earns less money than raising Kerria lacca Keer.” Dinh said.

People in Huoi Leng commune are aware of their responsibility to protect and replant forests. Hang Say Dua says: “We are summarizing our experience in production and will replicate the model in other hamlets. Households which have become better-off by raising Kerria lacca Keer will help their neighbors to escape poverty. We’ll gradually increase the number of middle-income households.”

Local authorities have encouraged people to change animal raising on mountains to centralized husbandry, which ensures better animal health and higher profits. Giang Chu Nu is a villager. “Previously, we farmed on terraced fields and grazed cattle on mountains but we didn’t have techniques and the yield was not high. Now we are trained in modern production methods and production has improved. We earn higher incomes and our lives have changed positively.”



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