Si Ma Cai’s journey from adversity to advancement

10:11 | 18/02/2018 Society

(VEN) - Si Ma Cai is a rural district of Lao Cai Province in the northeast region of Vietnam, which boasts some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the country. It also has the dubious distinction of being one of Vietnam’s 62 poorest districts. A recent policy change is slowly improving life for inhabitants.

si ma cais journey from adversity to advancement

Rough terrain

The difficult mountain terrain of Si Ma Cai, coupled with prolonged cold spells in winter, some of them extreme, limit the farming options of the predominantly Hmong ethnic minority that constitutes 80 percent of the district’s population.

Phan Ke Toai, head of the organizing committee of the Si Ma Cai District Party Committee, recalls that as recently as 10 years ago, it took a day to reach the area from the provincial capital, Lao Cai, due to poor or non-existent roads. On rainy days, in particular, the district could be completely cut off for as long as 10 days at a time. Often, district officials could only reach some of the villages on foot. “Because of difficult natural conditions and incomes mainly from small-scale farming and livestock breeding, local people’s living conditions faced serious difficulties. In 2013, per capita income of the district was only VND9.6 million a year, equivalent to one-third of the provincial average income,” Phan Ke Toai said.

si ma cais journey from adversity to advancement

The number of buffaloes and cows in the district has increased rapidly

We were amazed at his account in light of our experience in the region. We had traveled to Sang Nang Cang (Lu Than Commune), Na Chi (Lung Sui), Lu Di San (San Chai), Su Pa Phin (Quan Than San), Coc Re (Ban Me), Phin Chu 3 (Nan Sin), Cau Pi Chai (Thao Chu Phin). We found that all the roads leading to these communes and villages were paved.

To help Si Ma Cai eradicate hunger and reduce poverty, the Lao Cai Provincial Party Standing Committee issued Resolution 22-NQ/TW on sustainable poverty reduction in Si Ma Cai District by 2020.

Accordingly, the province has a separate support mechanism for Si Ma Cai District to develop sustainable agricultural production, under which various action programs have been developed and implemented. One of the most significant projects is the development of cattle breeding with the participation of 3,000 households, at a total cost of about VND500 billion.

si ma cais journey from adversity to advancement
People’s living conditions in Si Ma Cai District are getting better

Five villages in Can Cau Commune, one of the pioneers in implementing Resolution 22-NQ/TW, are taking part in the cattle-breeding project. To date, the number of buffaloes and cows in the commune has reached about 1,000. “Incomes of local people have increased to VND26.2 million per person per year,” said Truong Van Tien, cell secretary of Can Cau Commune.

Decline in poverty

After more than two years of implementation, Resolution 22-NQ/TW has lowered the rate of poor households by 7-10 percent per year, while average income per capita has doubled. Many communes have fulfilled the criteria for being designated new rural areas.

Officials and residents in Si Ma Cai District are determined to achieve the targets set out by the resolution. By 2020, all households will have semi-solid houses, while health facilities, pre-schools, primary and secondary schools will meet assigned standards.

The Si Ma Cai District Party Committee is mobilizing local farmers to expand the growing area of Ta Van plums, a native fruit with good yield, high quality and reasonable prices.

Identifying human resources as a central factor in implementing the state and party’s policies, and a key to socioeconomic development, the district has also organized training courses to improve professional abilities.

Si Ma Cai District is making greater efforts to eradicate hunger and reduce poverty in a drive towards a brighter future for its residents.

Viet Nga