Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on March 20 called for more effort in sustainable rural development at his meeting with the national steering committee on building pilot models of rural areas.

Briefing the Party leader and other members of the Party Central Committee, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said between 2009 and 2011, most of the criteria in developing rural areas had been met in 11 pilot communes.

Besides receiving State funding of 10-50 billion VND (0.5-2.5 million USD) for each pilot commune, they had also succeeded in drawing money from other sources for infrastructure development.

Compared with 2008, the average income in these communes had increased more than 60 per cent and the number of poor households had decreased between 6-14 percent. Most of the pilot communes had also met basic criteria in education, health care, culture, clean water and other sanitation projects.

The programme's total funding was estimated at 2.5 trillion VND (119 million USD), with State funding accounting for 31.5 percent. Residents also provided support in buying construction materials and working on important projects.

By the end of 2011, four out of 11 pilot communes had met 18 out 19 national criteria in the development of rural areas. It was expected that by the end of this year, most pilot communes would meet all 19 criteria.

Participants at the meeting agreed the nation's direction to develop rural areas was important but they said lessons must be learned from pilot communes and more support must be provided to pilot communes to serve as models nationwide.

“Building new rural areas is the biggest component in the Party Central Committee’s resolution, requiring constant efforts to monitor the progresses alongside with adjusting new criteria,” Trong stressed.-VNA