President Truong Tan Sang visited a number of localities in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum on September 22-23 to monitor the construction of new-style rural areas, the allocation of farm land to ethnic minorities, the maintenance of security and the implementation of judicial reform.

Visiting the border commune of Sa Loong, he found that the locality had accomplished five of the 19 criteria for building new-style rural areas. Whilst providing some land to local residents for cultivation, 17 households were still in dire need of land for subsistence farming.

He inspected the Bo Y Border Gate Economic Zone in Ngoc Hoi district, observing its operations as a transit stop for goods along the international trade route connecting Myanmar, northwestern Thailand, and southern Laos with Vietnam’s Central Highlands and Central regions. Covering 1,565 ha, the zone has so far attracted 25 investment projects.

Later, he held a working session with provincial officials. He praised the province for its significant progress in industrialising agriculture, ensuring food security and developing cash crops, like rubber and peppercorn.

Speaking of the province’s large natural forest coverage, he said Kon Tum should only use forest resources carefully and implement policies to encourage local residents to get involved in protecting the forests.

With regards to the 12,000 households that requested 3,000 ha of land for farming, the President called upon Kon Tum to reassess its map of available cultivation land to settle the matter satisfactorily.

Sharing a border with Laos and Cambodia, the province should pay attention to its foreign relations in order to maintain peace in the region, President Truong Tan Sang said.

During his visit, which is part of his Central Highlands tour, the state leader attended a ceremony to donate 50 cows to poor households and victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Po E and Ngoc Tem communes. The cows were gifted by the “Cow Bank” which was developed to help border residents improve their lives.

Kon Tum has 13 border communes and is home to 30 ethnic minority groups. In the first half of 2014, the province’s GDP increased by 11.6 percent and annual per capita income exceeded 25 million VND.

After three years of implementing the new-style rural area building programme, the province has built roads to all the communes, has connected 96 percent of its villages to the national power grid, and has built primary schools and healthcare stations in 81 out of 86 communes.-VNA