The “Joint Programme on Green Production and Trade to Increase Income and Employment Opportunities for Rural Poor” has actively contributed to the development of Vietnam’s handicrafts and raised rural people’s income.

The outcomes were released at a conference to review the three-year implementation of the programme, financed by the Spanish Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund, which was launched in February 2010.

The 4.1 million USD programme is part of a series of programmes launched by the UN Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund.

It aims to develop better integrated, pro-poor and environmentally sustainable “green” value chains, enabling poor farmers, collectors and producers to improve their products and connect to more profitable markets.

The targeted sector is handicrafts and light furniture, focusing on four value chains, including bamboo, rattan and sericulture; sea grass; lacquer ware; and handmade paper.

The programme targets about 4,500 poor households in Phu Tho and Hoa Binh in the north and the central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, which are home to 11 of the 31 poorest districts in Vietnam.

Tran Tuan Anh, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, underlined the programme’s remarkable achievements and its significance to poverty reduction in Vietnam .

The Vietnamese Government is devising policies aiming to raise people’s income, generate more jobs, combine production with environmental protection and increase value chains, he said.

According to UN Resident Coordinator Prathiba Metha, the programme has significantly contributed to Vietnam ’s realisation of the millennium development goals of poverty reduction, gender equality and environmental protection.

This is one of 28 joint programmes financed by the Spanish Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund, the Spanish Ambassador said, highlighting the programme’s contribution to Vietnam’s handicrafts.

Delegates at the conference agreed that the lessons learnt from the programme will be replicated for sustainable development.-VNA