Bac Kan Gives Priority to Agricultural and Forestry Economic Development

5:50:59 PM | 26/11/2013

During his working trip to some northern mountainous provinces from August 19 and 20, 2013, State President Truong Tan Sang visited and worked with Bac Kan province. After highly regarding Bac Kan province's achievements in the past time, such as average annual economic growth of 12 - 13 percent, forest area expanded by over 10,000 ha a year and poverty rate lowered to over 20.3 percent, the president particularly expressed his pleasure and gave praise to Bac Kan province's priority to forest development and wood processing industry. He stressed, "Forestation is the start of industrialisation and modernisation", adding that the central government can help the province and enterprises with capital sources for building factories to make products with high economic efficiency and value in this direction.
Resources for development
Bac Kan province lies in the heart of Northeast Vietnam, about 170 km from Hanoi on National Road 3. The province has a population of over 300,000 (ethnic minorities account for over 80 percent) and has eight districts and 122 communes and towns. The province has a natural area of ​​486,842 ha, of which forestland is 420,990.5 ha, including 263,503.9 ha of forest coverage: 224,151.4 ha of natural forests, 39,352.5 ha of planted forests, and 157,484.6 ha of unplanted forests. Soil is relatively fertile and hilly land is rich in humus, suitable for agricultural and forest production, particularly industrial crops and fruit trees. Bac Kan features geographical exchange of two floras and faunas of Northeast Vietnam and Northwest Vietnam mountainous forests. Although forests and mountains are not high, they are very diverse in topography, geology and habitat types. Bac Kan forest has rich flora and fauna with many rare and precious genetic sources. Bac Kan forest is a valuable, rich and diverse resource as, apart from timbers and forest products, this place is also a plant and animal gene conservation centre for Northeast provinces of Vietnam.
Bac Kan has great potential for tourism development, particularly Ba Ba Lake - a constituent of Ba Be National Park which has been recognised as ASEAN Natural Heritage Park. Bac Kan province has compiled and submitted documents to the UNESCO for recognising Ba Be National Park as the World Heritage Site. Connected 21 fascinating tourist destinations, this place features rich and diverse faunas and floras like 417 woody plant species, hundreds of orchid species and rare medicinal herb varieties, 319 animal species, including Vietnam Redbook recorded species like snub-nosed monkeys and white-cheeked langurs. Combined with karst terrain, caves and waterfalls, this place is an attractive tourist area, particularly eco-tourism - a tourism trend that is growingly popular in Vietnam and in the world. Bac Kan has many historical sites formed during two wars against French and American invaders. Nationally recognised historical sites include Cho Don Safe Zone, Na Tu and Phu Thong. The province is also famous for various folk cultures and festivals and typical products made by mountainous ethnic minorities. Once connected with other historical sites in neighbouring provinces like Dinh Hoa Safe Zone (Thai Nguyen province) and Tan Trao historical site (Tuyen Quang province), the province will more easily set up historical and cultural tourism tours and trips.
Bac Kan province is also rich in mineral resources. As many as 165 ore sites have been found, including many in large reserves. The province has found zinc (70 zinc ore sites with total reserves of 4 million tonnes), iron (13 mines with reserves of 22 million tonnes), gold (17 mines with reserves of 39 tonnes), limestone (150 million cubic metres), white marble and quartz (460 million cubic metres), clay (over 10 million cubic metres), antimony, titanium, kaolin, silica, and others.
Agriculture and forestry associated with processing industries: sustainable development direction
In 1997, Bac Kan province was founded with almost nothing from the start. It did not have border line, railway, waterway and airway. But with relentless determination and effort, Bac Kan has achieved average annual economic growth of more than 10 percent. The value of industrial production in 2012 increased 15 times from 1997. More than 90 percent of households have accessibility to the national power grid. Bac Kan is no longer the worst performer in hunger eradication and poverty alleviation.
President Truong Tan Sang said: In the past 16 years, although it has both successes and failures, it is important that Bac Kan is going up with its own competitive advantages. During the working session on socio-economic development of the province, he recommended that the province need to focus on restructuring crops and livestock, forming commercial merchandise production areas, and integrating agriculture with deep processing industries in order to improve competitiveness and achieve annual growth of 15 percent. Farmers in Bac Kan province have made efforts and creativity in agricultural and forestry development and generated a good foundation for the deployment of new countryside construction programme.
Sahabak Company, set up in September 2009 as the result of cooperation by companies in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Bac Kan, is one of typical agricultural development companies. Currently, the company is stably operating the first-phase wood processing factory with an annual output of 9,500 cubic metres, with its products - mainly plywood and boards - being exported to European markets. The second phase of the factory, expected to start operations from 2014, is hoped to churn out 108,000 cubic metres of Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) a year. At that time, its log demand is estimated to reach 220,000 cubic metres a year. Local people will earn at least VND200 billion from timbers sold to the factory, which is planned to create 3,600 jobs for local people, including 2,700 plantation workers and 600 full-time factory workers.
Mr Hoang Ngoc Duong, Chairman of the Bac Kan Provincial People's Committee, said: Bac Kan is striving to reforest to serve woodworking industry. The province defines that this is the strength and afforestation must be engaged by a majority of population.
Ngo Khuyen