The Central Highlands province of Gia Lai is leading the region in building new-style rural areas, thanks to its efforts to summon all resources to fulfill as many criteria as possible.

There are now five communes meeting all 19 criteria, including building infrastructure, improving production capacity, protecting the landscape and environment, and promoting local traditions and culture identities.

Three communes have satisfied 15-18 criteria, while 32 others reached 10-14. Local authorities are striving to have 25 communes fulfilling all criteria by the end of this year.

To realise this goal, the province has encouraged residents to donate land for building and upgrading roads, schools, and irrigation facilities.

It has also zoned off areas for growing key crops such as rubber, coffee, pepper and sugar cane, while paying special attention to animal husbandry.

With a total investment of nearly 5 trillion VND (238 million USD), the three-year national target programme on building new-style rural areas has brought a new face lift for the Central Highlands province, with better healthcare, education and security.

The rate of poor households has slid to 16.9 percent from 23.7 percent in 2011. Many communes such as Dien Phu and An Phu of Pleiku city have no people living under the poverty line.

With a total area of more than 15,500 square kilometres, Gia Lai is home to over 1.2 million people (based on 2009 statistics), including 34 ethnic groups such as Bahnar, Xo Dang, Thai and Muong.-VNA