|Plantation at a project site in central Quang Ngai Province. — Photo courtesy of World Bank Viet Nam
THUA THIEN - HUE (VNS) — The central province of Thua Thien Hue has planted 17,300ha of trees to cover the barren hills and help lift local farmers out of poverty.
Acacia forests that can be harvested for industrial wood after just three or four years have been planted in the districts of Phong Dien, Huong Tra, Huong Thuy and Phu Loc.
The World Bank has provided loans to farmers while the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has given them technical support for the Forest Section Development Project.
The project facilitates the process of granting of forest land to farmers to help them escape from poverty.
"The project has helped facilitate the process of granting forest land to households and increased forest coverage on the areas more barren areas," said Tran Hung Long, deputy director of the forestry and agriculture development unit in Huong Tra District.
Ho Da The, a farmer from Phu Loc District, said he earned around VND200 million (US$9,300) per hectare over the past eight years after planting trees.
"It is a sizable amount of money and has helped improve my family's living conditions," he said.
Farmer Ho Dac Ngu said favourable loans from the project had allowed him to delay the harvest, which meant better quality wood and higher prices.
The project has also been carried out in the central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai. Since March 2005, 76,500ha of Acacia trees have been planted by 43,000 households.
The project has cost $100.19 million with more than two thirds coming from World Bank loans, supported by ODA from the Global Environmental Facility, the Finnish Trust Fund for Forestry, the European Commission and the Vietnamese Government.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development regarded the project a successful one to reduce deforestation area in the Central region of Viet Nam and foster the forest land granting to farmers.
Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Country Director for Viet Nam, said she expected the experience from the project to benefit other regions and countries and improve environmental protection.
Farmers have also asked for more funding to develop their forests and plant other species of trees. — VNS