In one of its most ambitious anti-poverty plans yet, Vietnam has set the target of lifting the income for farming communities by the year 2020, as it tries to improve living standards for rural areas.
Under the plan, those working in the agricultural sector will see positive changes in their lives over the next four years, with the average income rising to VND45 million (US$2,020) a year.
The plan, to be implemented in December, encompasses a wide range of measures, including improving infrastructure, providing better access to clean water and promoting education.
|A farmer going out to the field in the northern Lai Chau Province. Photo by Nguyen Xuan Loc/VnExpress Photo Contest
If everything goes smoothly, farmers in northern mountainous regions and some central provinces, who are often in the lowest income bracket, will be able to earn at least US$1,600 annually on average.
Farmers in more prosperous regions can expect at least US$2,245 a year.
Vietnam has a labor force of around 54 million and nearly 70% of them are in rural areas working mainly in farming.
The new income targets for farmers are nearly twice the levels seen at the end of last year, according to data from the agriculture ministry.
Another important goal in the new plan is to bring the poverty rates down to 6% for all rural areas by the year 2020.
Vietnam has been universally praised for its efforts to tackle poverty over the past decades.
But even after the economy has expanded and achieved the middle-income status, hunger and poverty continue to hurt many.
A new policy effective later this year will redefine poverty as earning less than VND8.4 million (US$374) a year per person.
This new threshold is expected to raise the ratio of poor families in the country to 10%.