Cam Hai is a mountainous commune far from the center of Cam Pha city (Quang Ninh Province). Its mountainous terrain is divided into parts with many ethnic minorities living together, thus people’s lives were extremely difficult in the past. If you come to Cam Hai today, you can feel the impact of the New Rural Development (NRD) program on life here. The appearance of the commune, as well as the quality of people’s lives, have improved and are still changing positively every day. These improvements are enabled partly by the socialization as well as the contribution of businesses in the area, including AES Mong Duong Power Company, the owner of Mong Duong 2 BOT Coal-fired Power Plant.
Miracle of concreting 100% of roads
Mr. Vi Thanh Chung, Secretary and Head of Village 3, Cam Hai Commune, said: “Before the NRD, the roads in village 3 were all dirt roads on which travelling was extremely difficult. In the past few years, we have covered 100% of the roads in concrete. This is a marvelous achievement that none of us previously thought possible. The concrete roads of the village were financed by the state budget, our people’s contributions, as well as sponsorship from AES Mong Duong. In 2019, the company sponsored the construction of 200 meters of concrete roads in village 3. Up to now, 100% of roads have been covered in concrete in accordance with specifications.”
A new direction for livelihood development
Regarding people’s livelihoods, according to Mr. Chung, most households grow acacia trees. On average, the average revenue from harvesting acacia trees after five years (of cultivation) is only VND50 million. Minus the cost, only VND25 million remains. For a number of years, Mr. Chung and the villagers have been wanting to convert crops to achieve a higher income. People in the village are also hopeful for a new direction in crop conversion.
In 2018, AES Mong Duong donated 300 orange and pomelo tree seedlings to Cam Hai commune for trial planting. This program has witnessed some initial results. Mr. Bui Van Thang, who received Vinh orange and green-skin pomelo seedlings from the company’s livelihood support program, said that in addition to seeds, the company also provided fertilizer and invited agricultural extension experts (to the commune) to teach them planting techniques. After only a year, in 2019 Mr. Thang’s garden yielded three quintals of oranges. He then gave 2kg each to the neighbors to taste and everyone said they were delicious. This year, the orange trees in his garden have borne many fruits, and he expects to harvest 1 tonne of oranges in November.
“In recent years, in order to increase farmers’ incomes, the commune has proposed to Cam Pha city’s leaders to change the use purpose of a large area of forest land with low production value to agriculture. Currently, we have been growing orange and pomelo trees on a pilot basis with support from AES Mong Duong,” said Mr. Ha Van Cong, Secretary of Party Committee and Chairman of the People’s Committee of Cam Hai commune.
Progressing to the Model NRD
Cam Hai commune joined the NRD with a very low starting point – poor households accounted for more than 40% of its households in 2011. Thanks to the NRD, up to now, the commune’s infrastructure has been built with 100% concrete roads. By 2019, there were no poor households in the whole of Cam Hai commune, while only eight near-poor households remain. Average income in 2019 was VND47 million per year and all households have access to clean water. Cam Hai has been recognized as an NRD commune since 2016, according to Mr. Cong, firstly thanks to the promotion and mobilization work that helped people understand the NRD. Thus, they were willing to contribute money as well as manhours and initiatives to the NRD. Moreover, Mr. Cong mentioned the role of socialization that makes use of resources from businesses to the NRD in the locality.
For Cam Hai commune, since 2012, AES Mong Duong Company has provided the commune with nearly VND2.7 billion worth of sponsorship in many projects, namely the construction of concreted roads; providing learning equipment and building handwashing facilities for students at Cam Hai High & Secondary School; the construction of a 200-meter drainage ditch in village 2; as well as donating public bins and donating equipment to the commune health station.
“To complete the NRD, together with the self-reliance of the people, we are grateful for the contributions of businesses that have helped build our infrastructure, supporting the commune to complete the NRD,” said Mr. Cong.
Cam Hai commune was selected by Quang Ninh Province to implement the advanced NRD or the model NRD. The commune strives to complete the model NRD program by the end of 2020.