At the forum (Source: VNA)

Quang Nam (VNA) - Promoting rapid and sustainable development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas, and narrowing the development gap between them and other areas is the Party and State’s consistent policy in the national socio-economic development, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has said.

The Deputy PM asserted this at a forum on ethnic minority development held in the central province of Quang Nam on August 20, which was jointly organised by the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, the provincial People’s Committee, the UN’s office in Vietnam and the World Bank in Vietnam, and development partners.

Themed “Ngoc Linh ginseng - value chain approach for social and economic development in the ethnic minority areas”, the event saw the participation of nearly 400 delegates from ministries, sectors, localities, enterprises, along with experts, scientists and representatives from international and development organisations.

During his speech, Deputy PM Binh highlighted the significance of the event, saying that it helped collect experience in growing Ngoc Linh ginseng from growers.

He agreed with the assessment of socio-economic development in Vietnam’s ethnic minority areas by representatives from the World Bank.

The Vietnamese Government is paying special heed to directing the implementation of programmes to support ethnic minority communities, he stressed.

Ministries and sectors, especially the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, need to roll out more breakthrough measures, focusing on mobilising greater sources for socio-economic development in ethnic inhabited areas, he said.

More attention should be paid to production development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the direction of approaching value chains, promoting innovation and startup activities, and creating jobs.

Local-level leaders were advised to actively seek opportunities and learn from lessons and experience in socio-economic development from other localities to find their own directions in a creative way, towards promoting rapid and sustainable development in their localities.

The Deputy PM encouraged Quang Nam and other localities to jointly call for the involvement of enterprises in expanding cultivation of Ngoc Linh ginseng, which was recognised as a national product.

According to the World Bank's report on Poverty Reduction and Prosperity in Vietnam, the rate of poor households among ethnic minority communities in Vietnam fell to 44 percent in 2016 from 57 percent in 2014.

In order to narrow the development gap, it is necessary to have new policies, programmes and approaches, including value chain-oriented production, focusing on products of ethnic minorities, especially non-timber forest products (NTFPs).

Ngoc Linh ginseng is one of the typical NTFPs with high economic value. On September 2015, the Government approved a project on conserving and developing Ngoc Linh ginseng - the Vietnamese ginseng by 2030 with a total investment of over 9 trillion VND (387.1 million USD). Ngoc Linh ginseng was officially recognised as a national product in June 2017.

At the forum, domestic and foreign experts discussed how to further promote poverty reduction and sustainable forestry development; and proposed strategies and measures for developing Ngoc Linh ginseng products in Vietnam’s ethnic minority areas.

The Vietnamese ginseng was one of eight precious and endangered flora genes covered in Quang Nam province’s conservation programme for 2014-2020, including Ba Kich (poor ginseng or codonopsis), pepper, cinnamon, large rattan and white corn.

Nam Tra My district of Quang Nam alone has developed 27 farms of Ngoc Linh ginseng on a total area of 932ha, growing 800,000 natural ginseng plants and herbs. These farms plan to produce 1,000 tonnes of ginseng by 2025.-VNA