Ben Tre starting up project funded by the IFAD to fight poverty


A start-up conference on Developing Business with the rural poor project was held on May 12, 2008, by the People's Committee of Ben Tre province attended by Ms Atsuko Toda, Viet Nam program manager for the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), many deputies from Vietnamese Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs, and representatives from local and country's business circles as well as from the districts and communes in the targeted area.

According to the Provincial Project Managing Unit (PPMU) of Ben Tre, the DBRP project in Ben Tre includes 4 moduls: Improving investment and business environment, developing business services in the rural area, opening market opportunities for the poor, and the project management. The total fund for the DBRP project in Ben Tre is US$24.2 million, of which US$17.8 million will be funded by the IFAD, the rest include grant from the IFAD in form of technical support, and the Vietnamese Government budget investment and contributions by the targeted beneficiaries.

The DBRP project is planned to be deployed in the 50 poorest communes scattered in 7 districts of Ben Tre, including Thanh Phu, Mo Cay, Ba Tri, Cho Lach, Giong Trom, Chau Thanh and Binh Dai. It will be lasting for 6 years, from 2008 to 2013.

Part of the project fund will be used for technical support such as training, research, assessment, and technical transfer, while a larger part will be used to invest in the rural economic infrastructure in poorest communes to create market linkages for farmers and to set up credit funds to support the rural small and medium enterprises (SMEs), giving farmers better access to short-term and long-term loans for investment and production.

The DBRP project is one of two DBRP projects that are supported by the IFAD in Viet Nam (the other DBRP project is deployed in Cao Bang province in the far North of Viet Nam). Ben Tre is chosen as one of two provinces in Viet Nam to carry out this project because of its vast economic potentials and its poverty rate is rather high.

The project's specific objective is to create market linkages for farmers, improving incomes and the livelihood for the targeted group by helping them to organize themselves in specific business activities. So the project in Ben Tre is seen as the pilot one for other province to follow later on.

The final goal of the project is to encourage dynamic production activities among the rural people, helping to reduce poverty in a fair and sustainable way. The poor, the landless would be given more chances to improve incomes by working in manufacturing factories, in agriculture as well as non-agriculture sectors, in the rural SMEs. The business and production development will increase product value, thus helping upgrade the province's competitiveness, contributing to its overall socio-economic development.

The poverty fighting strategy in this project is to create collective impacts on various targets at the same time, so the results may be seen in a broad target group.

Translated by Truong Hung.

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