Illustrative image (Source: vinhlong.mard.gov.vn)
Vinh Long (VNA) – The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long aims for 50 percent of its communes to hold the title of new-style rural area by 2020, local officials said at a meeting on February 29.

The target was set as Vinh Long joins localities nationwide in a national target programme on building new-style rural areas. It began in 2011 and aims to boost the development of rural regions in Vietnam.

Provincial officials said communications must be prompted to encourage the public’s engagement in the programme. Local authorities must facilitate residents’ participation in discussing, implementing and monitoring related activities.

The province will press on mobilising resources to upgrade existing infrastructure, expand production activities and restructure agriculture, ultimately improving rural residents’ incomes.

Meanwhile, communes already recognised as new-style rural areas will be assisted to better their performance, participants added.

Over the last five years, Vinh Long spent nearly 3.4 trillion VND (152.5 million USD) on building and upgrading infrastructure such as traffic and irrigation works, power facilities, schools and clinics. Those efforts have helped 99 percent and 60 percent of local families access electricity and clean water from concentrated water supply systems, respectively.

Twenty-three communes have met all 19 new-style rural area criteria, accounting for 25.8 percent. Rural residents’ incomes have increased, reaching 26.1 million VND (1,170 USD) in 2015.

The national programme’s criteria covers infrastructure, production, living standards, income and culture, among others. A district must have at least 75 percent of its communes meet all the 19 criteria in order to receive the title of new rural district.

As many as 1,300 communes were recognised as satisfying the criteria, or 14.5 percent of the total, as of November 2015. At the district level, 11 were accorded the status, including those in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Ninh, Nam Dinh, Lam Dong, Dong Nai and Hau Giang.

Vietnam wants 50 percent of all communes nationwide to meet all the requirements by the end of 2020.-VNA