IFAD Vietnam Ben Tre 2010

Uploaded by IFADVietnam on 07.11.2011

Similar to other provinces in the Mekong delta, Ben Tre, the home town of Dong Khoi movement, enjoys favorable alluvial rich soil. Therefore, plantation in this area always flourish all four seasons.
The province's economy relies on gardens and aquaculture
Besides, Ben Tre has handcraft manufacturing workshops making use of local raw materials
Transportation is fairly easy by road or through water ways with routes connecting Ben Tre with such bigger cities as Ho Chi Minh and Can Tho.
A day at work for staff at Developing Business with the Rural Poor Programme (DBRP) Ben Tre is very busy.
Managing a programme worth over $50 million in a large geographical area has caused the programme management team to work at their full capacity
Ms. Lan Anh is an officer from Rural Economic Infrastructure Department of DBRP Ben Tre. She regularly monitors and supervises programme's activities.
She also supports staff at the commune level to prepare project documents for construction activities
The task has not been easy since commune staff still lack project management skills.
One of projects that Lan Anh is monitoring and checking qualities and impacts include Tan Thien road
This road was contracted to the local people to do it themselves other than being bidder as written in the project document.
All of the stages from building, monitoring the road have been organized by the local people.
In addition, the road construction was supervised by the community, keeping in mind that the road will be their own. As a result, it was built with quality, reduced costs and tax exemption.
>> Local woman: In the morning, I come here for a about an hour. I return in the afternoon to see how they are doing
>> Ms. Lan Anh: Besides you, are there anyones else monitoring the road? >> Local woman: Yes, the hamlet leader and a few others
>> Are there any other local people helping you with the monitoring task?
>> Yes, a few members of the self-managing group also come here to help out.
The programme is also building another road that is 1000 m long connecting the communes. It was completed within two months, costing nearly VND 400 mln including local people's contribution.
This road was built to meet the need of living and production of 600 households in the surrounding 3 communes
>> Where are you taking the goods? >> I am taking them to Thanh Binh >> Who do you work for? >> Thanh Binh
>> What do you think of the contractor's work? Did they do a good job or did they cut back some of the materials for themselves?
>> I think this contractor is quite good. People here have nothing against them.
>> Do local people and community monitoring board go pass by and see if they are doing their job properly? >> Yes, we pass by this road a lot.
>> What about the road foundation? Who did it?
We local people contributed money to buy sand to raise the level of the foundation.
Mr. Nguyen Van Dang's workshop has been established since 2002 in Thanh Tan commune, Mo Cay Bac district, Ben Tre province
It was initially a small workshop, able to meet small orders with a few designs.
After cooperating with the DPRP, local people have received practical training and now his workshop has employed 300 skillful workers. They produce a lot of products for export.
The programme has brought about numerous benefits for his business and the local people.
Despite of being only one of many manufacturers for a large export company, his business during the high demand season could make hundreds of trips back and forth to transport their products.
The convenience of this road has enable them to save on time and costs.
This partly helps the business to meet more orders and therefore increase their revenue.
This road has met the various needs of transportation for the local people, from transporting coconuts, fertilizers to receiving coconut candy raw materials for processing.
>> Mr. Nguyen Van Dong: We used to use water ways to transport our products. Since IFAD built this road for us, it has been easier for our transportation.
Thanks to IFAD, we local people sell our products with a good price and transport them more easily
Though its scope and size can't be compared with main roads connecting districts and provinces, this road is the last piece jigsaw puzzle to connect this area with the main transport system.
Nobody has named this road. Local people simply call it "IFAD's road"
Mr. Dong's workshop and the local people have been connected to the main system
Ms. Pham Thi Xuyen is a worker at Dan Luc Binh's workshop. Like many other local workers, she often comes here to deliver products and receive raw materials to work from home.
Thanks to attending trainings provided the the programme, she has learnt a number of new designs.
Her income is between 1mln and 1.2 mln VND per month
Poverty keeps following her family since their early days living together.
They was relying on their hands and eyes to make a living as in the saying "You can make it if you have two hands and two eyes"
However, they were hit with a disaster: the husband, the family bread winner, went blind after a very serious illness.
When his eyes were gone, their glimpse of hope disappeared.
She faced with paramount challenges. Her extra income in the past from making bamboo baskets became the main income of the family.
She showed him how to make baskets. It turns out this female task is also suitable for blind men.
Each time she learnt a new design, she would show it to him. Their income gradually goes up. They do not only enough to live on but also sometimes spare some to pay off their debts.
>> Ms. Pham Thi Duyen: I attended training courses to learn new designs and then I taught my husband. I held his hands to show him and he could follow me to some extent.
I pray for my husband's health and his fast learning. Pray for regular orders and good crops this year.
This handcraft job has become their lifebuoy and given the couple hope
30 kms from Ben Tre centre lies Thach Hai hamlet, Bao Thuan commune, Ba Chi district. Thach Hai is an islet covering 80 hecta.
This islet is surrounded by sea water. The only sources of fresh water are wells digged by local people in the fields.
Surprisingly, these wells provide clear and endless amount of fresh water all year round.
More surprisingly is the fact that this sandy land is suitable for growing a lot of plants including white turnips
These numerous turnip plants are grown in between other crops.
Farmers harvest 2-3 crops per year with around 100 tons of output per hecta.
This has been assessed as a key product in the value chain to help the commune lift itself out of poverty.
This turnip field belongs to Mr. Mai Van Bia and his family. It's harvesting time.
They seem to have a very good crop. The turnips are big, round and of even size. It's hopeful that they will yield a good price.
His family hire local people to help with harvesting so that the turnips can be timely handed over to traders.
The turnips are sold to traders right at the field. Traders minus produce that do not meet their quality requirement
The only way for traders to access the turnip fields is by boat. However, it's not always possible for their boat to get to the fields. They have to wait for high tides.
One boat can take approximately 10 tons of turnips, just the right amount harvested from Mr. Bia's field.
In the past two crops, Mr. Bia has received trainings from IFAD in selecting seeds, growing and caring techniques for the turnip plants.
Therefore, the turnips here are better in both quantity and quality and become very popular among traders.
These turnips will be sold at the wholesale markets in Ho Chi Minh city.
Despite a good crop, his income has not increased significantly due to reduced price. Traders only pay him VND1700/kg.
His joy is still complete because he has IFAD team going with him on this journey.
They have mastered the technique to grow this plant. In the near future, the program will assist him to better participate in the market.