Si Ma Cai’s journey from adversity to advancement

Rough terrain The difficult mountain terrain of Si Ma Cai, coupled with prolonged cold spells in winter, some of them extreme, limit the farming options of the predominantly Hmong ethnic minority that constitutes 80 percent of the district’s population. Phan Ke Toai, head of the organizing committee of the Si Ma Cai District Party Committee, recalls that as recently as 10 years ago, it took a day to reach the area from the provincial capital, Lao Cai, due to poor or non-existent roads. On rainy days, in particular, the district could be completely cut off for as long as 10 days at a time. Often, district officials could only reach some of the villages on foot. “Because of difficult natural conditions and incomes mainly from small-scale farming and livestock breeding, local people’s living conditions faced serious difficulties. In 2013, per capita income of the district was only VND9.6 million a year, equivalent to one-third of the provincial average income,” Phan Ke Toai said. We were amazed at his account in light of our experience in the region. We had traveled to Sang Nang Cang (Lu Than Commune), Na Chi (Lung Sui), Lu Di San (San Chai), Su Pa Phin (Quan Than San), Coc Re (Ban Me), Phin Chu 3 (Nan Sin), Cau Pi Chai (Thao Chu Phin). We found that all the roads leading to these communes and villages were paved. To help Si Ma Cai eradicate hunger and reduce poverty, the Lao Cai Provincial Party Standing Committee issued Resolution… [Read full story]

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