South central coast and Central Highlands urged to boost rural development

10:00 | 07/10/2019 Society

(VEN) - New rural area construction programs in Vietnam’s south central coastal region and Central Highlands have fundamentally changed the rural agricultural outlook and improved local people’s lives. However, these regions are still lagging behind other regions, with residents urged to capitalize on their advantages, take part in production chains and the One Commune One Product (OCOP) program to increase product value and incomes.

south central coast and central highlands urged to boost rural development
The south central coast and Central Highlands regions need to promote production chain connectivity associated with the OCOP model

Positive results

By August 2019, 604 of the 1,424 communes (or 42.41 percent) and nine districts in the two regions had been recognized as new-style rural areas. In the 2010-2019 period, the south central coastal and Central Highlands regions were funded with nearly 365 trillion VND to implement the new rural area program. The infrastructure in rural areas has been continuously upgraded, which helped significantly change their appearance, and initially met production development demand local needs.

Production development initially increased the added value and competitiveness of local products, with a focus placed on promoting the marine economy, including marine tourism and exploitation of aquatic products, contributing to protecting the country’s sovereignty over sea and islands. The Central Highlands provinces shifted their plant structure to grow more profitable crops like vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, and industrial crops, formed concentrated, large-scale production areas with the adoption of chain connectivity measures and application of high technologies.

After year-long implementation, the OCOP program achieved initial results, contributing to promoting local specialties (especially in Quang Nam and Lam Dong provinces). The total number of products expected to qualify for OCOP standards by 2020 is 582, accounting for 15.8 percent of the nationwide total.

The average income per capita in 2018 in the south central rural areas reached about VND27.87 million and about VND30.45 million in the Central Highlands. However, these two regions lag behind other regions in new-style rural area building with most of their indexes lower than the national average, especially in terms of high poverty rates and limited infrastructure.

Promoting production chains

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the south central coastal and the Central Highlands regions hold the most potential for reshaping the countryside as they have the largest space for developing agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

According to Prof. Dr. Tran Duc Vien Chairman of the University Council of Vietnam National University of Agriculture, the south central coast region needs to boost its marine economy and associate agriculture with tourism development. The Central Highlands need to develop large-scale fruit areas associated with ecological tourism, as well as community-based tourism through which visitors experience local culture and lifestyles. Products of these two regions should also be connected with production chains and with the OCOP program by gradually qualifying agricultural products to meet VietGap standards.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong:

The south central coast and Central Highlands need to exploit their advantages to create typical agriculture, fishery

regions and upgrade their development to the level of other regions.

Vu Le