The Central Highlands province of Lam Dong has earmarked 15.5 billion VND to provide direct support for poor people in 2014.

Half of the amount will be spent on buying plant varieties for poor and ethnic minority households who wish to switch to new crops to increase their income. Priority will be given to hybrid maize, high productivity coffee, fruit tree and rubber tree.

Another 5.5 billion VND will be used to grant yearly allowance to the poor in 110 poorest communes.

In addition, poor and ethnic minority families without access to electricity will be given 5 litres of kerosene this year.

Furthermore, the province will install speaker systems in poor communes to assist in communal activities.

Lam Dong enjoyed an annual decrease of 7,500 poor households, 2.82 percent on average, in the 2011-2013 period.

Together with national programmes on poverty reduction, the province prioritised investing in upgrading schools and rural roads in ethnic communes with a high poverty rate.

According to the provincial People’s Committee, by the end of 2013, 20 percent of ethnic households are living below or near the poverty line (12 million VND or 564 USD per person per year). About 3,750 households need help to build houses. The rate of households sliding back into poverty was 1.38 percent last year.-VNA