Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has said the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre needs to design more support policies for local businesses, encouraging them to strengthen connectivity with farmers.

Working with key provincial leaders on January 17 to consider the progress of poverty reduction and the programme of building new-style rural areas, Deputy PM Ninh said Ben Tre should focus on developing a sustainable and high-quality agricultural sector.

He urged the province to enhance the application of technological advances in agriculture and promote production connectivity models.

Praising the achievements that Ben Tre has gained during the past three years of its new-style rural area programme, Deputy PM Ninh asked the province to review the work to draw lessons and experience to share with other localities.

He also underscored the need to develop production and improve the living conditions for locals, describing it as the most important part of the programme.

According to Cao Van Trong, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Ben Tre has mobilised 7.15 trillion VND (336.05 million USD) for rural infrastructure construction and production support.

The proportion of impoverished households has been reduced to 8.59 percent in 2013 from 20.02 percent in 2006. More opportunities have been created for poor people to access social welfare such as healthcare services, vocational training and loans to boost economic development.

Many effective models have been introduced, helping hundreds of households get rid of poverty in a sustainable way, he said.

Meanwhile, Vo Thanh Hao, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee pointed out some difficulties in multiplying connection in production due to the weakness of enterprises and the small-scale farming habit of farmers.

Earlier, Deputy PM Ninh, who is head of the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region, also worked with leaders of neighbouring Can Tho city and presented Tet gifts to poor locals and Agent Orange/Dioxin victims in the region.-VNA