HCM CITY — Six outlying communes in HCM City that were chosen for a pilot new rural area project have achieved almost all its criteria, according to authorities.
The Government's National New Rural-Area Programme has 19 development criteria for rural areas to get the status of "new."
Among them are the development of transportation and irrigation facilities and housing, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and social and political stability.
The six communes are Tan Thong Hoi and Thai My in Cu Chi District, Xuan Thoi Thuong in Hoc Mon District, Tan Nhut in Binh Chanh District, Nhon Duc in Nha Be District, and Ly Nhon in Can Gio District.
Tan Thong Hoi and Thai My have scored all 19, while the others are going to follow suit this year, according to the committee.
Tan Thong Hoi was among the first 11 in the country to be chosen for the programme in 2009.
In 2010, HCM City made assessment, picking the other five after Tan Thong Hoi as they accomplishing positive results under the programme.
Speaking at a seminar to review the programme on Tuesday, Le Thanh Liem, director of the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said HCM City has so far poured VND6.9 trillion (US$328 million) into the endeavour.
More than 900 irrigation, road, electricity, schools, healthcare, and other infrastructure works have been built under the programme.
The six do not have a single household now under the Government's poverty line whose threshold is VND4.8 million per year per person.
The city has fixed the poverty line at VND12 million.
Liem, who is also deputy head of the city steering committee for the programme, said the development of infrastructure has helped attract investment, improving conditions for trade and production, shifting workers from agricultural production to other sectors, and expanding incomes.
Truong Trung Cuong, who lives in Hamlet 1 in Tan Nhut, said commune authorities have instructed farmers to switch from farming crops and animal breeding of low value to those of higher value, improving incomes.
He himself chose to farm ornamental fish. His 3-hectare farm now sells around 3,000 fish every day for revenues of VND700-800 million ($33,300-38,100) a year.
He has encouraged some neighbours to switch to ornamental fish with guarantees to buy them.
The city is expanding the National New Rural-Area Programme to its remaining 50 rural communes, and hopes they would achieve all the criteria by 2015.
Nguyen Van Dua, standing deputy secretary of the city Party Committee, said the first six communes started slowly before rapidly achieving their targets.
The new ones could benefit by learning from their experience, he added. —VNS