|A farmer harvests honey in Vân Khánh Tây Commune, An Minh District, in the southern province of Kiên Giang. — VNA/VNS Photo Lê Sen|
KIÊN GIANG — Residents in Vân Khánh Tây Commune are gradually escaping poverty, thanks to their local cajuput forest.
As well as participating in forest management and protection in An Minh District, Kiên Giang Province, residents have been taking advantage of the cajuput forest to raise honeybees and catch fish for economic development.
According to Huỳnh Văn Tâm, chairman of the Vân Khánh Tây Commune, the commune has more than 4,200ha, of which 1,380ha are protective forest, and the remaining is used for raising shrimps, crabs and growing rice.
Previously, the Vân Khánh Tây coastal commune was very poor due to high tides and rising seawater. In the rainy season, dykes broke and seawater damaged crops and the farming areas. About 22 per cent of local residents were part of poor households.
Since the forest was assigned to the VRG Kiên Giang MDF Joint Stock Company under the Việt Nam Rubber Group to plant trees for wood, local people's lives have gradually improved.
The company signed contracts with local people to protect all 1,380ha of forest. They can catch fish in their assigned area and raise honeybees to develop a family economy.
As a result, now only 60 out of 1,380 households in the area are poor ones.
Huỳnh Công Văn, deputy head of the forest protection team, said that local residents joined the team in 2014.
All of them were poor households and did not have land for production.
Since they protected the forest, it had not been illegally cut down or caught fire and was providing people with a stable monthly income.
Trần Văn Bình, a local resident, said that he joined the forest protection team in 2017. Before, his life was very hard because he did not have fields. Since working for the team, his life had gradually changed.
He earns VNĐ4 million (US$170) per month for protecting the forest, giving him a total income of nearly VNĐ200 million ($8,600) per year through catching fish and raising honeybees.
Other members of the forest protection team said that raising honeybees not only brought them stable incomes but also helped them keep a traditional career in the U Minh Thượng area. — VNS