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Tan Son – the poorest district in Phu Tho.

(www.vbsp.org.vn) Tan Son was established in 2007 on the basis of the land-border adjustment, dividing Thanh Son district into 2 districts Thanh Son and Tan Son. Divided from a poor district, Tan Son is essentially a mountainous district with 77,000 thousands inhabitants – 82.3% out of which are ethnic minority people (Muong, Dao, Mong, Tay). The percentage of poor families accounts for nearly 62%. This is the poorest district in Phu Thu province and one of the poorest districts in the country.

Tan Son district is located on the outskirts of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range so it has a fairly rough terrain with steep slopes. Divided by the Bua river branches, Tan Son district has many streams and canals, which unfortunately leaves little room for arable land. In addition to that, there are a lot of floods and landslides affecting the area annually, plunging already impoverished people further into poverty.
In the beginning of 2009, Tan Son implemented the 30a resolution of the government. Among many imperative things to do, Tan Son choose to focus on eradicating temporary houses first. With the support of the government, banks and companies, Tan Son became the leading district in Phu Tho for eradicating temporary houses, by the end of 2011 4500 new houses referred to as policy houses for poor families were built. After the inspection of the ministry of construction, the policy houses in Tan Son have met the “3 solid” standards (solid foundations, solid walls and solid roofs).It also met the target of the Government that each house should have a living area of above 24m2 and can be used for at least 10 years.
Mr. Duong Quoc Tuan –director of Vietnam Bank for Social Policy in Tan Son district reveals that over the last 3 years, the Vietnam Bank for Social Policy has supported the 167 lending project with VND 27 billion for the. On average, for each policy house, poor families received VND 16 million from the government, companies, economical organizations and VND 8 million from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policy. Besides, the communities also contributed to financially support for the poor family to have a convenient and beautiful house.
Apart from the policy houses, after the 5 years from the establishment of Tan Son district, the most obvious achievements can be seen in the improvement of infrastructures and the building of new important constructions. With the total average investment of VND 320 billion per year, hundreds of inter-hamlet, inter-commune roads have been built or upgraded with asphalt or concrete. 80% of the district now has roads for cars directly to the centre of the district. Bat Nhuong irrigation dam, Kim Thuong commune and Minh Dai commune’s chain-bridge are built. Central communes like Xuan Dai and Liet Son are also invested by the project. Besides, the project also invested to build boarding schools and Tan Phu primary schools (10 rooms, 350 m2).
Vietnam chemical corporation (VINACHEM) is the company that directly assisted the poor Tan Son district. In 2009 and 2010, the corporation invested VND 31.5 billion and so contributed considerably to the temporary house eradication, provided facilities for 9 schools and 9 communal health centers. However, the support of corporations to the poor people is just the beginning; the most important thing is the general collaboration and strength of the community. To a mountainous district like Tan son, one important aspect of achieving sustainable poverty reduction is the preservation of the forest. Tan Son has over hundreds of hectares of natural forest.

In agriculture production, at first ethnic minority’s people have known to invest, seed, fertilizer and apply technology in order to increase the crop’s efficiency. Some economical model like: breeding forest pigs in Van Luong, Lai sind cows in Tan Phu have brought high and positive economical effects. The traditional professions are still preserved and developed, like cultivating special tea in Long Coc, Minh Dai commune, making brocade in Kim Thuong commune. More specifically, many families have become rich by planting Paint tree. In 2011, the district still owes the Vietnam Bank for Social Policy over VND 9 billion including: budget for Paint planting project: 1,6 billion Dong with over 100 families participated. According to Mr. Phung Manh Tuat – leader of the People’s committee of Van Luong commune, Paint tree is easy to plant and do not require high cultivating skills unlike for example tea. Paint tree has a cycle of 7 years and it can produce sap from year 2. The highest-productivity-period is from year 4 to year 7, when the tree is chopped down to plant a new one. The output of Paint tree is stable with high price (approximately 100,000 per kilogram) and the demand for this product is also high. “Van Luong commune currently has 45 ha of Paint tree and this amount is still increasing.” - Mr. Tuan asserts.
With the support of many different sources, lives of Tan Son people have changed substantially. The percentage of poor families has decreased from 62% (in 2008) to 40.34% (at the end of 2011). In order to eradicate poverty rapidly and sustainably, Tan Son is currently executing policies according to 30a resolution, especially the policy to assist agricultural producing, creating jobs and increase incomes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            (Ho Khanh Thien)