[hepr-vn] IDLE FIELDS SHOW DARK SIDE OF VIETNAM'S RAPID URBANISATION
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Mon Jun 7 14:10:05 EST 2010
From: Stephen Denney <srdenney at gmail.com>
Date: 20 May 2010 10:44:36 AM PDT
To: vnnews-l at anu.edu.au
Subject: [vnnews-l] AG: IDLE FIELDS SHOW DARK SIDE OF VIETNAM'S RAPID URBANISATION
May 18, 2010 Tuesday 11:18 AM EST
IDLE FIELDS SHOW DARK SIDE OF VIETNAM'S RAPID URBANISATION
SECTION: NATIONWIDE INTERNATIONAL NEWS
LENGTH: 325 words
DONG NAI ASIA PULSE - Hiep Hoa commune, across the Dong Nai River from
Bien Hoa, shows best the changes urbanisation has wrought. Once its
lands - like most of Vietnam's southern province of Dong Nai - were
used for farming. Now all that seems to have gone.
Co-operatives, storage facilities, the water pumping station and the
courtyards where rice was dried are idle. Paddy fields are covered
with wild grass. Farming has declined quickly with urbanisation,
explains Bien Hoa People's Committee Economics Officer director Ta
Commune farmer Nguyen Van Nam used to cultivate 1,140sq.m. But his
family has not worked the land for the past three years and his three
sons are employed at a factory.
"Our sons work at factory for the higher pay," he says. "But to allow
the land to remain fallow is a waste."
Fellow farmer Hai Vinh says: "The young people all work at factories,
only the elderly who can't work stay at home. If we want to farm, we
have to hire labour which is expensive."
Like Nam and Vinh, Nguyen Van Toan with 720sq.m. of arable land wants
to continue as a farmer but cannot do so because no one else will join
Without a farm or factory job, he harvests hay to sell to livestock breeders.
Farmers want to diversify their crops or build a house. But the
inclusion of their land in the State plan stymies their ambition.
"There was once about 150ha of paddy field," says Toan. But now only
20ha is used. Farmers don't want to continue working the land because
of the shortage of labour and high production costs."
The expensive irrigation system has also fallen into decline. The Hiep
Hoa 1, Hiep Hoa 2 dykes and two pumping stations are unused while
fruit trees along the dyke embankments go dry.
Dong Nai Agriculture and Rural Development Department deputy director
Tran Dinh Minh explains apologetically: "We tried to base our
construction plan on the local reality.
But after building the dykes, things turned out differently."
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