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New-style rural area programme improves incomes in HCM City

Forty seven of HCM City’s 56 rural communes have met all 19 criteria set in the national target programme on building new-style rural areas, according to the municipal Party Committee.

The 56, situated in five outlying districts, have met an average of 18.7 of the criteria related to planning, transport, irrigation, electricity, schools, income, education and training, health, environment and food safety.

Under the programme launched in 2008, the city has spent 73 trillion VND (3.1 billion USD) building infrastructure for socio-economic development.

More than 26,000 households in the five districts have donated nearly 300ha of land worth 2.2 trillion VND for building roads.

The city has built or upgraded 741 transport projects involving 1,233km at a cost of 5.2 trillion VND in rural areas since 2008.

It has also invested in 455 irrigation works that help prevent saltwater intrusion and store fresh water for agriculture.

Speaking at a seminar in the city last week, Nguyen Phuoc Trung, director of the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the per capita income in rural areas has increased by 301 percent from 2008 to 63 million VND now.

The income gap between the city’s rural and urban areas has been narrowing each year, he said.

The average rural income was 55.5 percent of urban income in 2008 but is 72.5 percent now.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, Secretary of the city's Party Committee, said the city has been able to mobilise large sums of money in the last decade to implement the programme.

The labour productivity and output of the city’s agriculture sector and the number of agriculture cooperatives have increased rapidly, he said.

The 56 rural communes have 76 cooperatives, 45 more than in 2010, with a total of 1,370 members.

The communes have identified vegetables, orchids, ornamental plants, ornamental fish, dairy cows, pigs, shrimp, and fish as key agricultural produce.

Most key produce are now produced under contracts between cooperatives and companies.

Nhan said however, that the labour productivity of agriculture is low compared to the city’s average rate.

The city has to improve rural labour productivity by adopting advanced farming techniques and technology, he said.

Huynh Cong Hung, head of the city’s Emulation and Reward Board, said the city seeks to increase the value of agricultural output to 900 million VND –1 billion VND per hectare per year in 2020 – 25 and rural income per capita to 110 million VND.

It also seeks to increase the number of farming households in agricultural cooperatives to at least 20 percent by 2025 from 7.7 percent now, he added.