Kien Giang province’s Go Quao district has built new roads and bridges that have helped improve the quality of life of local residents. (Photo: VNA)

Kien Giang (VNA) - The living conditions of residents in Go Quao district, which has the largest number of Khmer people in Kiên Giang province, has improved significantly in recent years thanks to “new-style” rural areas.

Construction of infrastructure in the district,  where more than 31 percent of people are Khmer ethnic minority, such as electricity, clean water and rural roads in recent years has contributed to a better quality of life. Roads to villages in the district have been paved and trees have been planted.

Danh Chach, a Khmer in Thuy Lieu commune, said that previously his family had planted rice and had an unstable income. 

Under the national new-style rural area programme, local authorities encouraged his family to switch to other higher profit crops.

He now takes part in planting trees along roads, and building toilets, rural bridges and roads, which are part of activities of the new-style rural areas.

In the 2016-2018 period, the district spent more than 468 billion VND (20.15 million USD) from the State budget and the contribution of local residents and businesses for new-style rural areas. 

The district targets having its communes meet all criteria of the national new-style rural area programme by the end of next year. 

Vo Van Tra, Chairman of the district’s People’s Committee, said that besides participating in activities to build new-style rural areas, many Khmer have applied farming models and used State-provided soft loans to escape poverty.

The district has also provided advanced farming techniques for its major agricultural products such as rice, shrimp and pineapple.

The district’s average income per capita increased from 38.2 million VND (1,640 USD) in 2017 to 41.6 million VND (1,790 USD) by the end of last year, according to the district’s People’s Committee.

The district’s poverty rate fell from 7 percent in 2018 to 5.3 percent by the end of last year. The poverty rate of Khmer people in the district now equals the district’s general rate.

Go Quao district is well-known for its sweet, fragrant pineapple loved by many consumers. The district has 3,700ha of pineapple, mostly in Vinh Phuoc A, Vinh Hoa Hung Nam, Vinh Thang and Thoi Quan communes.

Local authorities have implemented measures to increase the value of the fruit by building a collective brand name for the fruit and encouraging farmers to participate in cooperatives to produce the fruit on a large scale.

In November 2017, the National Office of Intellectual Property granted a collective brand name for Vinh Phuoc A pineapple.-VNA