|An irrigation system provides water for 10,500 hectares of agricultural land in HCM City's Cu Chi District. The city leads the implemention of the Government's New Rural Area Programme. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh
HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City administration yesterday reviewed the progress made in the five years since implementation of the Government's New Rural Area Programme began.
The city, not only leads the country in socio-economic development, but is also a leader in implementing the programme, which seeks to dramatically improve the standard of living in rural areas.
Praising its significant progress in achieving the target – 50 of its 56 rural communes have achieved the "new rural area" norms — Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said the city's achievements had greatly contributed to the country's socio-economic development.
To be recognised as a "new" rural area, a commune has to meet 19 criteria. The remaining six have so far met between 17 and 18 criteria.
With three of its five rural districts also achieving the recognition, HCM City leads the country in terms of both number and quality.
"The city has become an example for other localities in the country, and several national policies have been adopted from here," Ninh said.
With limited resources provided by the Government, the city has been successful in mobilising VND41.8 trillion (US$1.85 billion) on its own, emphasising the importance of public support.
Politburo member of and Secretary of the city Party Committee, Le Thanh Hai said: "The determination and support of local residents to the city administration in building new rural areas has been seen in the last five years. More than 19,600 farming households donated more than two million square metres of land to build roads."
The five rural districts with a combined population of 1.5 million still faced many difficulties, he said.
"The area was the base of revolutionary soldiers during the war. Building new rural areas there is the city's responsibility for repaying local residents for their favours in the past."
In the past five years the city's agriculture grew 1.5 times faster than elsewhere and living standards have improved as agricultural production per hectare has increased.
Rural life improvement
Though the agricultural area in the city has reduced due to urbanisation, the sector continues to grow at an average of 5.8 per cent.
The value of output per hectare was reported at over VND325 million ($14,400) last year, twice the 2010 value, and four times the national rate. It is expected to reach VND800 million ($35,600) by 2020.
The rural-urban income gap narrowed in the past five years: In 2010 the average rural income was 67 per cent of urban incomes, but rose to 79 per cent last year.
Rural incomes have been growing at 15 percent on average, and by 2020 the city hopes to increase it to VND80 million ($3,600) per capita.
The proportion of households living under the poverty line has been falling by 2 per cent annually.
But at the national level only 11 per cent of communes and eight districts, including the five in the city, have met the criteria. — VNS