Harvesting onions on Ly Son island, off the coast of Quang Ngai province (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ngai (VNA) - Poverty alleviation programmes aiming to help people in mountainous areas of central Quang Ngai province are ineffective and unsustainable, local authorities said.

Luong Kim Son, Director of the provincial Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, said the many social aid programmes carried out over the past few years had helped improve lives, especially of ethnic minority people in remote mountainous areas.

However, he said the established model for providing poor people with Zebu cows, Bach Thao goats, rabbits, wild boars, Dong Nai bananas, and other crops have shown shortcomings.

Pham Van Na, a farmer in Ba To district’s Ba Giang commune, was among six households given 11 goats by local authorities to develop goat farming in the commune. But shortly after they were handed out, the goats were all dead.

Na said the weather of the mountainous area was not suitable for the animals. He and other farmers had no experience raising goats and received little instruction, leading to the deaths of the animals.

Ho Van Xoay, a farmer in Tay Tra district’s Tra Phong commune, has kept empty iron cages in his garden for nearly two years. The cages, together with 10 rabbits, were given to him to develop a rabbit farm in the commune.

Xoay said the herd of rabbits died after just three months. Other households in the commune had similar experiences, with total losses comprising more than 50 animals worth a combined 50 million VND (2,100 USD).

Xoay and other farmers did exactly as local officers instructed, and did not know what caused the deaths.

Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Tra Khe commune Ho Van Truc said these attempts failed because of the loose management of local authorities, which provided animals and seedlings without educating farmers on the basic skills needed to care for them.

He pointed out that farmers were not provided with crops and animals suitable for the area’s climate and the farming habits of local people.

Son agreed, saying that providing aid without any education would only make people dependent on local government. These shortcomings had seen successive programmes fail and the rate of poverty remained high.

Huynh Thi Thanh Thuy, head of Tay Tra district’s Division of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the division wanted the programmes to have a lasting economic effect on participating farmers, but did not carefully consider weather and local customs in deciding what help to provide.

The province has approved a new programme that will give financial and technical support to those who produce certain high-value agricultural products, especially in poverty-hit Son Tay and Tay Tra districts.

Between 2011 and 2016, 2.2 trillion VND (92.4 million USD) went into programmes to fight poverty in six districts of the province.

Quang Ngai plans to spend an additional 10.7 trillion VND (449.4 million USD) on aid by 2020.-VNA