New Progress in Mountainous Border Regions

4:49:49 PM | 11/2/2023

New rural development in border communes faces significant difficulties and challenges due to fragmented terrain, dispersed population, and underdeveloped economy. However, with the concerted effort of the people and the engagement of authorities at all levels and relevant sectors, the appearance of border communes in Son La province has been consistently improving.

Building new rural areas in highland border communes

Ngoc Chien commune, located in Muong La district (Son La), is a poor commune situated 32 km from the district center. It has a total natural area of 21,219 ha and comprises 15 villages with 2,305 households and 11,670 residents belonging to four ethnic groups: The Thai (65%), the Mong (33%), the La Ha (1.75%), and the Kinh (0.25%). Economic development and income growth for farmers are crucial tasks in new rural development. Ngoc Chien has unlocked local potential advantages by actively communicating and mobilizing people to change production practices, abandon ineffective production habits, shift to commercial production, intensive cropping, and develop farm-based economic models and community tourism.

Leo Thi Dem, a woman in Muong Chien village and a member of Thanh Cong Cooperative, stated that the cooperative’s rose area is currently 33 ha, of which 16 ha is already harvested. The cooperative has seven members, and after deducting expenses, each member makes an average profit of over VND200 million per year.

Lo Van Thoa, Vice Chairman of Ngoc Chien People’s Committee, said that the Party Committee and authorities of Ngoc Chien commune have effectively informed, advocated, and mobilized available resources, including from local people, for infrastructure construction while carrying out the National Target Program on New Rural Development.

Ngoc Chien has successfully diversified capital sources for infrastructure construction and integrated capital sources from projects and programs. At the same time, the commune called for people’s contributions to building rural roads, infield roads, and cultural houses. With good solutions, the commune has aroused public strength in implementing new rural development criteria.

Ngoc Chien commune has achieved 16 out of 19 criteria and 48 indicators to date, including Planning, Transportation, irrigation and disaster prevention, electricity, school, cultural facilities, commercial infrastructure, information and communication, residential housing, income, multidimensional poverty, production and rural development, education and training, culture, environment, food safety, political system, and access to law.

In the coming time, the commune will focus on directing crop restructuring by increasing the proportion of crops and aquaculture while gradually reducing the area planted with unproductive annual crops on sloping land to grow edible crops as directed by the District Party Committee, the District People’s Council, and the District People’s Committee. The commune will also promote intensive farming by increasing crops and using new varieties with high productivity and quality. They will expand concentrated livestock farming development to improve quality while ensuring disease safety and increase the total cattle herd to 3,500 heads.

In the past, people in Muong Lam commune lived in extreme poverty, and their income was largely dependent on growing maize, hunting, and wet rice farming. However, thanks to the National Target Program on New Rural Development, this commune has undergone significant changes. Visitors to the commune in Song Ma district today will be impressed with blooming flower beds along roads, clean and beautiful environmental landscapes, and winding concrete roads to all villages, households, and farming fields. Many new spacious, multi-storey houses have been built.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has set a goal to recognize 60% of villages and hamlets in poor communes in border areas, mountainous areas, coastal areas, and islands as meeting new rural development standards by 2025. This will be done according to criteria provided by the Provincial People’s Committee. By 2026-2030, the country aims to have 90% of villages and hamlets in poor communes in border areas, mountainous areas, coastal areas, and islands recognized as meeting new rural development standards.

Luong Thi Soi, a woman in Muong Cang village, stated that her family was poor in the past as its main income depended on maize and cassava production. Fortunately, the new rural development program was launched and advocated by all levels of government, organizations, and especially farmer associations for its good development prospects for the village. “Guided by officers, my family worked hard to grow fruit trees which are being harvested now. My family earns nearly VND200 million from the orchard each year. Now, my family is living in comfort. I would like to thank the Party and Government for this policy,” she said.

Lo Van Duyen, Chairman of Muong Lam People’s Committee, said that when carrying out the program, the Party Committee and authorities of the commune actively developed communication plans to inform local people of the program and picked up key criteria and tasks. All contributions, questions, and requests from the people were discussed and answered immediately at village meetings to create high public consensus in the commune. Muong Lam commune has achieved all 19 new rural development criteria. In the coming time, to reach advanced new rural development standards, Muong Lam will speed up communications on new rural development to the entire political system and all people to engage their active and voluntary participation in new rural development.

By Ngoc Dan, Vietnam Business Forum