Viet Nam News
SƠN LA — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Monday advised the northern mountainous province of Sơn La not be left out of modern trends while preserving its natural environment and cultural diversity.
He also asked it to focus on high-tech agriculture to boost socio-economic development.
At a working session with local leaders, he hailed the Party, the provincial administration and residents of Sơn La Province for their efforts in achieving high economic growth and maintaining good relations with neighbouring Lao localities.
However, he noted that it remained a poor province with a high poverty rate and low competitiveness.
While it exerts all efforts to fulfill its annual socio-economic targets, the province should also focus on ensuring security and order at the border, and pay more attention to business development, Phúc said.
The province should intensify its focus on hi-tech agriculture development, find more markets for local products, speed up building new-style rural areas and increase the cultivation of herbs with medicinal values, he said.
The PM also asked local authorities to pay more attention to residents displaced by the Sơn La hydropower plant.
Furthemore, Sơn La should develop its tourism industry in a sustainable manner, with special attention paid to preserving the cultural identities of ethnic minority groups, he said. Tourism should be made a spearhead sector in the province, he added.
The PM highlighted the case of Vân Hồ District, one of the poorest districts in Sơn La as well as the northeastern region.
He praised local authorities’ success in attracting two large-scale projects worth VNĐ2.3 trillion (US$101.2 million) invested in by TH TrueMilk. The project has several components including cultivation of herbs and oranges as well as high-quality fruit processing.
The PM said the projects would deliver “inclusive benefits and sustainable development for the society and the environment.”
“If Vân Hồ District with its enormous economic challenges achieve such an admirable feat, surely other mountainous districts can do the same thing.”
While the province should do its utmost to preserve its natural landscapes and diverse cultural identities, it should not “stay out of the common trends of globalisation and Industrial Revolution 4.0,” he said, urging economic models that can harmonise growth with sustainability.
At a trade promotion conference held on Monday morning in the province, in the presence of PM Phúc, Sơn La handed approvals to 26 projects with a total investment of VNĐ8.56 trillion ($376 million), and signed memoranda of understanding with 17 investors for projects worth VNĐ14.932 trillion ($657 million).
Sơn La has a natural area of 14,174sq.km, and shares a 250km-long border with the Lao provinces of Houaphanh and Luang Phrabang. Among its 1.2 million population are members of 12 ethnic minority communities.
Despite its recent growth, Sơn La remains a poor province with the ratio of poor households reaching 31.44 per cent in 2016.
Last year, the province’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth rate was 9.2 per cent, while its budget collection was over VNĐ4 trillion ($176 million) and per capita GRDP reached VNĐ25.4 million ($1,117)
In the first six months of this year, the provincial economy grew by 5.15 per cent.
In 2016, the province welcomed 1.85 million visitors, earning nearly VNĐ900 billion ($39.6 million) in revenue.
In the first half of 2017, tourists to Sơn La numbered over a million, with most of them visiting the Mộc Châu Plateau and Vân Hồ District.
The province has a forest coverage of 42.5 per cent and cultivates many fruits. It also has 22,000 milch cows that produced 37,000 tonnes of milk in the first six months of this year.
It has 43 enterprises and co-operatives with 86 agricultural products meeting VietGap standards. — VNS