Program 135 Assists Yen Bai’s Ethnic Minorities to Get Rid of Poverty

Program 135 has assisted people living in mountainous areas, especially the ethnic minority people, in northern Yen Bai province escape from poverty in a sustainable manner. Yen Bai has 81 communes and 177 villages and hamlets facing extreme difficulties qualified to benefit from the Government’s Program 135, which was launched in 1999 under the Prime Minister’s decision 135/1998/QD-TTg dated July 31, 1998, with the aim of improving living conditions for rural residents with a particular focus on ethnic minority communities. Ethnic minority groups account for 55.5% of the 30 ethnic groups residing in the province. They make a living based on farming and forestry production and account for over 80% of poor households in the locality. Do Quang Vinh, deputy head of the provincial committee for ethnic affairs, said the Program 135 allocated over VND447 billion for the ethnic minority-resided and mountainous areas in the province from 2016 to June, 2018. The money included VND86 billion supporting production development, VND351 billion for developing infrastructure, and over VND10 billion for capacity building for the community and local officials. Over 24,000 households have been helped to develop household-based production to improve their living conditions, according to the provincial committee for ethnic affairs. Hong Ca commune in Tran Yen district has 90% of its population being the Tay and Mong ethnic minority people. It had coped with extreme difficulties stemming from low education level, backward customs, and underdeveloped roads. Program 135 investment allowed inter-village roads to be asphalted, making it easier for travelling and trade activities, said Song A Dung, head of Khuon Bo village, Hong Ca commune. For Chang A Vang from Khuon Bo village, his family had struggled against poverty before getting the State’s assistance in young bamboo and cinnamon plants in 2014. They began to sell bamboos and will sell cinnamon barks in two years. During 2015-2016, Program 135 capital helped Hong Ca commune to build 1,700 meters of roads connecting its hamlets and villages to the communal centre at a cost of over VND2 billion and provided young cinnamon trees worth VND591 million for 617 families, among others. Chang A Sai, Vice Chairman of the Hong Ca commune People’s Committee said Program 135 enabled Hong Ca residents to raise their incomes, from VND20 million per person per year in 2016 to VND8 million per person per year in 2018. The poverty rate was slashed from 45% in 2016 to 18% in 2018. (Vietnam Plus Nov 25)