Orange trees, which are planted in Van Chan district of the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai, have been the main source of income for the locals. Thanks to planting orange trees, many of the locals, some are ethnic minority people, have become billionaires. This also sets examples for fellow minorities’ people to follow and to improve their livelihood.

Mr Phung Xu​an L​oi, a Dao minority, was the pioneer to experiment plantingorange tree to see if the land here was suitable for growing orange. Upon realizing how profitable the cultivation of orange was, MrLoi continued to grow more orange species. The area for growing orange has increased to 4 hectares, earning him more than half a billion VND a year.

He told the reporters: "I had some experience in growing orange trees, those can withstand draught season can be planted on top of the hill, those cannot then I move them down the hill. I mainly plant King Orange, and then we diversify the crop by planting Mandarin Orange and other orange species. Whenever anyone comes and asks me for advice, I often tell them to diversify their planting."

The trend of growing orange to improve the livelihood of the minority has now become a popular practice for many households. The total area for orange growing in Yen Bai increases to 233 hectares and half of it is waiting for harvesting.

According to Phung Sinh Phuc, Secretary of Minh An Commune's Party Committee in Van Chan district, Yen Bai province​, ​in Khe But village, more than 40% of the population is minority but now they know how to apply technology in the cultivation process of orange. Many households make ends meet thanks to growing orange trees and selling oranges.

Mr H​a Dinh De, a Tay ethnic minority, has utilized 6 hectares of his family land to plant a variety of orange, earning more than 1 billion VND a year. His orange plantation is also systematically divided into squares so he can easily access and take care of his crop.

The Tay ethnic minority people in Th​uong Bang La commune also learn from their fellows by investing in buying orange tree species and plant them as their main crop. By applying knowledge and taking initiative in exploring and researching market, many of the Tay, Muong and Thai minority households living in Thuong Bang La commune have improved their livelihood and successfully risen above the poverty line. With this successful orange plantation model being implemented, it is an undeniable proof of radical changes in the mindset of ethnic groups living in Yen Bai.

Hoang Dinh Muu, Chairman of People’s Committee of Thuong Bang La commune, Van Chan district said: "We are planning to increase the total orange planting area to 600 hectares by 2020.So far, we have achieved more than 2/3 of it and 250 hectares is ready to be harvested and marketed. The total amount of orange harvested exceeds 5,000 tonnes. With average price of 15,000 to 16,000 VND per kilogram, our commune can make around 80 billion VND."

The growing number of millionaires and billionaires by orange cultivation in Van Chan district is the solid evidenceof changes in the mindset of the minority. Their enthusiasm in learning and exploring the market, daring to change the cultivation practices set prime examples for their fellow minorities to rise above the poverty line and improve their living condition.-VNA