CAO BANG (VNS) — Many ethnic residents in Bao Lam District of northern Cao Bang Province, have been able to cultivate wet-rice in place of maize, as part of the district's poverty alleviation efforts.
The district, one of the poorest of Cao Bang, has a population of about 58,000 and officials estimate that 45 per cent of them are poor.
It is located about 180 km from the city of Cao Bang and is surrounded by mountainous terrain and has extremely adverse weather.
Previously, many households only ate maize powder instead of rice to survive. Last year, district officials asked residents to replace maize with wet rice.
The district began reclaiming virgin soil in the mountain area and instructing residents to grow wet rice, providing them with financial support as regulated from the Government.
So far, more than 2,040 hectares of land have been made fertile enough for growing rice.
H'mong resident Tan Phu Chieu said, previously his seven-member household never had enough rice to eat.
With support from the district, in the first crop season, his family was able to reap three tonnes of rice, which was enough food for the whole year.
Tan Van Ta, head of the Vang Vat hamlet, Thai Hoc commune, of Bao Lam District, said previously residents were struggling to grow maize, which did not generate much revenue and was constantly infested by rats and insects.
Nong Van Thanh, chairman of the Ly Bon Commune People's Committee, said it was still very
difficult to do the work because many hamlets do not have electricity, and officials have to come to individual households to convince them to switch to growing wet-rice.
In a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Xuan Phuc on Thursday, officials from Bao Lam District said the district should be designated as one of the priority areas for increased support from the north-western region steering committee.
This includes support for basic infrastructure projects, cultivable land, migration management and new poverty reduction models, among others.
The Ministry of Rural and Agricultural Development has also been instructed to reassess the situation of poverty in the district and suggest new and effective models to reduce it. — VNS