(VEN) – With a target of increasing incomes for 10,000 households, creating an additional 1,000 jobs and helping at least 3,000 households escape from poverty, the Market Access for the Rural Poor Program (MARP) is expected to provide poverty eradication opportunities for rural people, especially ethnic minority groups.
Swiss Cooperation and Development Agency Country Director Samual Waetly said at the program’s opening ceremony that MARP will focus on poverty reduction with priority given to ethnic minority people.
Four of the five MARP projects in which Vietnam has participated provided assistance for ethnic minority people. They include a project for sustainable development of mulberry cultivation and sericulture value chains, a rattan value chain development project, a spice industry promotion project and a project for sustainable development of high quality tea value chains.
|The Swiss Cooperation and Development Agency-funded MARP program is to be implemented for three years in 10 provinces in Vietnam, most of which are northern mountainous localities including Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, Lao Cai and Lai Chau, in addition to one province in Laos and one district in Myanmar.|
Le Ba Ngoc, director of the project improving livelihoods for ethnic minority women through sustainable development of mulberry cultivation, sericulture and fabric weaving value chains, said that MARP projects’ main objectives are to help ethnic minority people to reduce poverty, and that the projects not only connect residents with the market but also help them promote sales and expand markets.
According to Ngoc, the project for sustainable development of mulberry cultivation, sericulture and fabric weaving value chains is to help improve incomes and create job opportunities for mulberry cultivation and fabric weaving ethnic minority households in Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Hoa Binh provinces. The project is expected to assist 1,000 households to increase their incomes from fabric production and sales by 30-50 percent by 2016, apply sustainable agricultural skills and use green technology and cleaner production techniques, he said.
A MARP beneficiary representative, Ly Choi Nhang from the Phin Ho tea processing co-operative (in Lang Giang Village in Thong Nguyen Commune, Phin Ho District, Ha Giang Province) said that Ha Giang Province’s famous Shan Tuyet tea is grown in Phin Ho; the district has about 4,000 hectares of tea; Shan Tuyet is a high quality tea variety but Shan Tuyet tea products processed by villagers had a modest quality because villagers used rudimentary processing methods; meanwhile, tea output depended much on weather conditions so villagers’ incomes from tea products were relatively low – about only VND2-3 million per capita per year in 2008.
Four co-operative members have had access to MARP training workshops in improving production, product quality and market access. Ly Choi Nhang said that the project helped villagers retain the tea’s natural fragrance and taste after it was processed through using new drying techniques.
The project for sustainable development of high quality tea value chains is being implemented by the Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation in Lao Cai, Lai Chau and Ha Giang provinces. It is expected to increase incomes of 3,100 poor ethnic minority households by at least 10 percent by 2016. It will also implement provincial policies to accelerate sustainable development of tea value chains./.
By Hai Linh