Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has spoken highly of efforts by South-eastern, Southern Central and Central Highlands provinces to utilise their advantages in building new-style rural areas, thus gaining initial successes.

At a recent conference in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, reports from the 19 provinces in the regions said 141.3 trillion VND (6.7 billion USD) has been raised for building new-style rural areas over the past three years.

The sum has been spent on key infrastructure such as irrigation works, roads and water facilities, creating a momentum for production development and improving local living conditions, the reports said.

Many concentrated cash crop production areas have been formed in the regions during the period. As many as 4,760 agricultural production models have been implemented with total financial assistance of nearly 3.5 trillion VND (166.2 million USD).

Ninh, who is also the head of the Central Steering Committee for the National Target Programme on Building New-style Rural Areas, specially valued models that use high technology, as well as those with the partnership of farmers, businesses and cooperatives.

Ho Chi Minh City is known as a leading locality in applying advanced technology in agricultural production, which has brought an average production value of 282.6 million VND (nearly 13,500 USD) per hectare a year – the highest figure in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Lam Dong is now home to 35,000 hectares of farmland using high technology, bringing about revenue of 122.2 million VND (5,800 USD) per hectare each year – 2.5 times higher than the national average.

Along with making use of sea-based economic potentials, Binh Thuan province has encouraged the cultivation of dragon fruit following the Vietnam Good Agricultural Practice standards.

As of the end of 2013, 8,100 farming households joined the practice with 20,186 hectares, and some 1,600 households cooperated with 16 businesses to ensure an outlet for their fruits.

A number of cashew cultivation cooperatives in Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc provinces have also formed collaborative ties with the business circle, thus gaining high economic effectiveness.

Despite such attainments, the provinces still face an array of problems in building new-style rural areas. For example, infrastructure works have not been built comprehensively, thus hampering local socio-economic development. Or the link between businesses and farmers has not been expanded.

Deputy PM Ninh asked localities to continue promoting farmers’ role in creating on-site production models and facilitating the use of cutting-edge technology. They also should multiply current effective examples and extend the market for local products.

The South-eastern, Southern Central and Central Highlands regions comprise 19 provinces with 1,896 communes.

At present, 42 communes have met all 19 new-style rural area criteria, 102 others satisfy 15-18, and 380 have fulfilled from one to five standards.

Building infrastructure, improving production capacity, constructing public works, protecting the landscape and environment, and promoting local traditions and cultural identities are among the criteria of building new-style rural areas initiated by the Vietnamese Government in 2010.-VNA