Ha Noi is a pioneer of a national programme to build a new rural model. Ha Noi Farmers Union chairman Trinh The Khiet spoke to the Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper about barriers farmers face.
The program has been around for two years in some pilot communes. Are there many positive changes in those communes?
Thuy Huong (in Chuong My District) is one of the pilot communes in the campaign to build a new rural area in Ha Noi.
In the first two years, I could say the commune "got a face lift," particularly in production, and the building of public utilities and roads.
In 2008, the Government chose 11 communes nation-wide to participate in a national pilot programme to build new rural areas.
About 70 per cent of the Vietnamese population earns their living from agriculture, accounting for 20 per cent of the annual gross domestic products and 30 per cent of the export turnover.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung once said building a new rural model was an urgent mission and a strategic policy for the sustainable development of Viet Nam. — VNS
Thuy Huong is an agricultural commune. In the past, local farmers lived off their vegetables sold in Ha Noi. Now they have switched to horticulture – a promising and lucrative trade for them.
New production models were introduced to farmers in the commune. Households growing flowers formed horticultural enterprises with farmers contributing their land.
At present, in addition to Chuong My, there are three more districts – Thanh Tri, Dan Phuong and Soc Son, all engaged in building a new rural model.
By now I can say that the initial successes have been recorded, including improved infrastructure, new farming production models and higher income. A case in point is in Song Phuong Commune, Dan Phuong District with many households volunteering to donate their land to widen the inter-communal roads.
Does the city want to expand the programme to more districts?
Under the Ha Noi Party Committee's Resolution, from now until 2015, 160 communes out of 401 will build a new rural model. And by 2030, all communes in Ha Noi will have won the title of a "new rural model".
To achieve this target, the city's Farmers Union has made the communication campaign a top priority amongst the 19 criteria to build a new rural model and help people understand that the programme is for their own benefit.
City authorities will pull investment resources to invest in public utility projects, production planning, population planning, electricity, roads, schools and others in order to create a synchronous development model. However, with limited funding, they will have to make a list of prioritised projects.
How will capital be allocated to make it the most efficient?
Of course, the budget will not be allocated equally among all communes.
A total of VND 32 trillion (US$1.56 billion) has been set aside to invest in the program to build a new rural model in Ha Noi from now until 2015.
But it does not mean that the sum will be distributed to all 401 communes in the city. It will only be spent in pilot communes. Budget allocation is based on the real situations and levels of contribution of each commune.
Many localities have complained that some of the 19 criteria in the building of a new rural model are not suitable. What about Ha Noi?
One criterion – after two years implementing the programme – is that the income of the people in that commune must double. This criterion is not easy to reach, even for Ha Noi. We have asked the Government to re-consider it.
During the implementation process, what should the farmers do to exercise their rights and obligations?
As I have mentioned above, we – the Ha Noi Farmers Union have increased our communication to raise awareness of the programme and its benefits, create a better socio-economic situation and better living conditions, both physically and spiritually. Once they thoroughly understand the benefits of the programme, they will volunteer to take part and encourage others to follow suit. — VNS