Remarkable efforts made on sustainable poverty reduction in ethnic minority areas

Wednesday, 2021-09-15 17:19:49
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Harvesting tea buds in Yen Binh district, Yen Bai province. (Photo: Nguyen Dang)
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NDO – Thanks to the Party and State’s guidelines and policies on ethnic minorities, many localities and ethnic minority areas have made breakthroughs in socio-economic development in recent years, helping improve people's living conditions. Reality is also posing many new challenges that require further effort, and more synchronous and scientific solutions to develop ethnic minority areas.

Ethnic minorities account for more than 66% of the population of Lao Cai province. Thw Muong Khuong upland and border district is on the list of 56 poorest districts in the country. Five years ago, the rate of poor and near-poor households in the district accounted for over 65%. In the past three years, the Muong Khuong District Party Committee has identified four major projects, focusing on developing commodity agriculture, with a strong focus on sustainable poverty reduction.

According to Secretary of the Muong Khuong District Party Committee Giang Quoc Hung, the guidelines and solutions proposed by the province and the district have been effectively implemented through the Party committees, authorities and grassroots cadres. Muong Khuong has 80% of its natural land area as hills and mountains. The district’s socio-economic development projects, especially since 2019, have helped 16 communes effectively exploit natural resources and develop forest planting and agricultural commodities.

The fruit production area of the whole district has increased rapidly with specialty trees such as pineapple, tangerine, tea, anise, etc. Up to now, their total area has reached 3,431 hectares. Agricultural product processing facilities and factories have come into operation, helping increase the prices of agricultural products and people's incomes. Over the past three years, the district's poverty rate has decreased by an average of 10% per year, the highest poverty reduction rate in Lao Cai province.

New goals and solutions

Vice Chairwoman of the Provincial People's Committee Giang Thi Dung said that investment resources and support from the central and provincial governments for ethnic minority areas have increased across all fields. Accordingly, the average rate of poor households in the province has been reduced by 4 to 5% per year, while the rate of poor households is less than 10%. Along with Muong Khuong, the districts of Bat Xat, Bao Yen and Bac Ha are also seeing new development opportunities.

Currently, ethnic minorities account for over 57% of all those in Yen Bai province. In 2020, the number of poor ethnic minority households was 13,272, accounting for 86.34% of the total poor households in the province.

According to Secretary of the Yen Bai Provincial Party Committee Do Duc Duy, in the 2021 - 2030 period, Yen Bai province has set a target of average economic growth of about 8% per year; average income at VND59 million per person a year. Accordingly, for 2021, the province has set a target to reduce by 2.05% the number of poor households.

For Van Yen district, the poverty reduction target in 2021 is 2.15%, equivalent to 757 households. From the Resolution of the district Party Congress for the 2020 - 2025 tenure, the district will invest in promoting economic development and sustainable poverty reduction; continue to implement projects on agricultural restructuring and sustainable agricultural development. The new direction of the district is to focus on effectively promoting natural resources and the cultural values of the ethnic minorities; striving that by 2025, per capita income will reach more than VND65 million a year.

In 2021, in addition to support from the central budget (accounting for nearly 32%), Yen Bai province mobilised over VND362 billion (accounting for more than 14%) and over VND2.1 billion from the community for the goal of sustainable poverty reduction.

In the central province of Nghe An, ethnic minorities account for 15% of the population, many districts have a high rate such as: Ky Son nearly 95%, Tuong Duong 89%, Con Cuong 76%, Quy Chau 78.84%, and Que Phong over 90%. Standing Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Nguyen Van Thong said that there have been many positive changes in ethnic minority areas in the province in recent years. In the past three years, the average economic growth of the western area of Nghe An has reached more than 12%; the rate of poor households in ethnic minority areas has decreased by an average of 6 to 7% per year.

Opportunities and challenges

The guidelines and policies of the Party and State, political determination and innovation, associated with solutions and goals from Party congresses at all levels for the 2020-2025 term of the localities have created positive changes in sustainable poverty reduction in mountainous and ethnic minority areas.

In the context of difficulties in central budget revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has still given the highest priority to the national target programme for socio-economic development in the ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the 2021 - 2030 period, with total investment capital of more than VND137 trillion (over US$6 billion). Minister-Chairman of the Government Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Hau A Lenh emphasised that the concerned agencies should focus on information dissemination to raise the awareness and sense of responsibility of the whole society, while mechanisms and policies need to be aimed at the real beneficiaries of this programme.

Through effective implementation of central and provincial policies in association with mobilisation of social resources, localities should attach importance to internal resources, inherent potential and human resource development.

Although many remarkable results have been achieved, ethnic minority and mountainous areas are still the most difficult areas of the country to live in. Policies should continue to focus strongly on sustainable development goals for these areas in association with ensuring resources for policy implementation. Valuable experience drawn from Party committees and authorities in many localities must be thoroughly grasped, deployed and creatively applied alongside the guidelines and policies of the Party and State, associated with promoting the responsibilities of all levels of Party committees, authorities and political system, arousing the will to be self-reliant and to rise out of poverty, improving the quality of life in the community. It is also necessary to focus on human resource training and building a contingent of ethnic minority cadres to meet all requirements in the new situation.