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Danish project lifts farmers from poverty

Update: December, 19/2013 - 09:55
Danish ambassador John Nielsen and the delegates.— Photo thoibaotaichinhvietnam

HA NOI (VNS)  — A six-year-old Danish-funded agriculture and rural development project has improved the lives of more than 1 million Vietnamese farmers and families.

The US$42 million programme, was implemented in the northern mountainous provinces of Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Lao Cai, and the central highland provinces of Dak Lak and Dak Nong in 2007.

It focused on improving natural resource management, agricultural production and markets for poor farmers in rural areas, especially women and ethnic groups.

The programme is a collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Danish embassy in Viet Nam.

Speaking at a conference on Monday, Danish ambassador John Nielsen said that, thanks to the project, the poverty rate in the five provinces had dropped from 25 per cent in 2007 to 10-12 per cent this year.

At least 70,000 poor households in these provinces have improved their food security and income, he added. About 50,000 households have received additional income from making traditional products.

Many economic models have been applied successfully, he said, citing the bamboo rattan planting in Dien Bien Province's Na Tau Commune, which brought in an annual income of VND33 million ($1,550) per hectare, and rice cultivation in Son La Province's Huoi Luc and Ta Huoi Trang hamlets, which helped 2,140 households rise out of poverty.

Lao Cai province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development deputy director Le Thanh Du said that the programme has helped to increase the value of agricultural production from VND1.02 billion ($47,940) in 2008 to VND4.3 billion ($202,100) in 2012, and raise the annual per capita income from VND5.4 million ($253) in 2008 to VND9.4 million ($441) in 2012. More than 50 per cent of the area has come under agricultural cultivation.

Further, Dang Kim Son, head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture, said that all five provinces had large land funds and large areas of untapped forests.

The institute has formulated a policy for attracting investment to these provinces, he said, adding that there were 7,000 enterprises and co-operatives there, most of them focused on urban areas.

The Danish Government has provided $500 million for projects on agriculture and aquaculture development, climate change and poverty alleviation during the past 12 years, the agriculture and rural development project being the largest one. — VNS

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