Surrounded by sheaves of rice stubble of a new paddy harvest, Gia Loc peasants are being in a hurry for cultivating winter crops. Kohlrabi, chili, cabbage start to take root deeply into wet beds of ground; bushes of young watermelon, pumpkin and corn by canals are waiting for plantation, etc. All of which draw out a colourful picture in the countryside: "At this time of every year, fields in Gia Loc are often immense with golden rice in the morning and full of blue winter-crops at noon. And only one month afterwards, the district will be fully covered by boundless green fields of corn, Dutch potato, kohlrabi and other species of winter vegetables" proudly said the local people. Thanks to such model of multiplication crop and intensive cultivation, the people here are actively enriching themselves and their homeland.
Typical examples of agriculture production
For years of age, the winter crop has become one of key crops of Hai Duong's agriculture sector. And thanks to good performance of scientific and technological application for agriculture production, Gia Loc has turned into a leading district in farming high-yield crops in winter. Of which, the annual yield of each hectare of corn reaches 4.97 tonnes meanwhile the average productivity per hectare of this crop in other localities is only about 4.32 tonnes. Other crops such as potato, soybean, chili, cabbage, watermelon, garlic, tomato etc. of the district also give highest yield as compared to other localities in the province. Many communes of Gia Loc are illustrious for their "super yield" fields including communes of Doan Thuong, Gia Xuyen, Nhat Tan, Thach Khoi, Pham Tran, etc.
Doan Thuong commune with six villages has not only got the largest farmland area of 328 hectares but also made great step forwards in agriculture production over the past few years: "the rice yield of Doan Thuong reaches 12 tonnes per hectares. Agriculture production value per hectare rises up to VND78 million on average. And the commune has got fields of over VND100 million per hectares" said Gia Loc Secretary Vu Van Son. In the past two years, the frequency of agriculture cultivation in Doan Thuong is 3.16 times per year. The crop multiplication has never been as eventful as today in this commune. The revolution in species of plants in Doan Thuong and other communes is being undertaken actively and made high profit to the local people. Cultivating area of species of long-term rice is narrowing. Tradition crops that give low yield and low quality have been replaced with subsidiary ones such as cucumber, corn, Dutch potato and watermelon. In the past two years, farms specialise in cultivating subsidiary crops with high yield. For instance, fields of watermelon of 10-12 tonnes in summer and summer-autumn harvests have merged in every village. Therefore, Doan Thuong on one hand concentrates on building up high economic fields of vegetables and fruits. And on the other hand, the commune boosts up the consumption and export of the local products with projects in the slogan "cooperation among State, peasant, scientist and business". For example, the project on rose plantation for export on a site of 37 hectares in combination with Thien Van limited company, the project on safe vegetable production on a site of 40 hectares assisted by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the project on sustainable vegetable production assisted by the Institution of Agriculture under Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, etc.
On the same bar with Doan Thuong, the commune of Pham Tran has become a bright point of the crop restructure in the district due to its high economic value plants. There are 346 hectares of farmland in the commune as a whole. The rice yield per hectare here reaches 12.5 tonnes valued at VND50 million per year. So far, Pham Tran has built up fields specialising in subsidiary crop with the grand area of 50 hectares. Subsidiary crops planted on such fields, most of which belong to villages of Nam Cau, Buou Quang and Cau Lam, annually generate VND150 million per hectare.
Not only boosting up the development of plantation sector, Gia Loc also concentrates on furthering husbandry with new methodologies. Noticeably, the productivity of fish raising in the district has sharply risen up to 3,920 tonnes in 2003 from 2,950 tonnes in 2001. So far, some fishery farms have surged in communes of Trung Khanh, Hoang Dieu, Lien Hong, Thong Nhat, Thach Khoi, Nhat Tan and Pham Tran. The number of cattle and poultry herds is increasing together with the increase in the number of crossbreeding cows and small pigs. Two thousand households have engaged in husbandry according to industrialisation drive.
Inch of ground - inch of gold
Locating in an area of over 12,000 hectares, 8,505 hectares of which are farmlands. In which the transportation network is quite convenient thanks to the National Highway No. 38B, provincial roads of 39D, 20A, 17A. The waterway of the district is also very convenient because of rivers of Kim Son, Dinh Dao, Dong Trang, Thach Khoi, Doan Thuong, etc. Endowed with such good transportation systems are auspicious conditions to speeding up the district's socio-economic development and transaction of goods with surrounding localities inside and outside the province of Hai Duong. Particularly, the crowded rivers and streams in the district are favourable to agriculture and aquaculture production.
Aiming to make the most of local potentials for development, Gia Loc has drawn out specific policies and projects on economic development, of which projects on agriculture development are especially noticed. And the district has carried out variety of measures to exploit all advantages of all kinds of land in the region. As to low ground, the district plans to change it into fishery farming zone or farmland. For high barren land, peach and other ornamental plants are planted. And for the remains, the district shall actively multiply crops. More than that, the district has applied intensive cultivation formulas for year-round agriculture production such as one rice crop plus three subsidiary crops, two rice crops plus two subsidiary crops, and one rice crop plus two subsidiary crops, etc. This has considerably raised the production value on each hectare of farmland in the locality. Especially, acreage of winter crops has sharply increased in recent years up to 72.8% (equivalent to 5,210 hectares) of farmland in 2003 from 65% of that in 2001. Along with economic zoning and intensive cultivating, the peasant here has applied variety of scientific and technical advances for further agriculture production. As to rice cultivation, the district has selected species of high-yield, good quality and high capacity against insects and diseases as well as conformity with the local weather and ground. Aiming to spread the area of local made rice species, the district has given financial assistance to local peasants to buy rice breeding produced in the locality. As for secondary vegetables, the district has given effect to a project on "developing fields of high economic vegetables and fruit" with five cultivation models of peach, ornamental plants; rose for export; crops of high economic value; and safe vegetables.
The district's projects on further economic development are effectuated flexibly, actively and properly in accordance with specific conditions in each commune. Besides Hai Duong city, Thach Khoi fish market provides hundred tonnes of fish for inside and outside markets of the district. Peasants in communes of Doan Thuong, Gia Xuyen, Nhat Tan, Hoang Dieu and Pham Tran have taken initiative of planting early winter crops of kohlrabi and cabbage so that they can "master" the market because they were almost unavailble in other markets. In order to give facilities to further trade activities, Pham Tran commune has directed each of its villages to build a parking space. Yearly, before the watermelon are harvested, Doan Thuong commune hosts meetings between peasants and compulsory purchasers to inform them information relating to changes in the market and price of watermelon. Nhat Tan commune always directs its peasants to put down fertilizer and spray pesticide at the right time and the right technique, not to use illegal stimulants. Consequently, the local vegetables have high quality and get confidence of consumers so many compulsory purchasers have gone to this locality to purchase vegetables and then transport to cities of Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Hanoi, etc. for sales. In Gia Loc, each commune is really a symbol of agriculture production in the direction of commodity production. And for this reason, the district's economy is developing sharply and stably though here is a pure agriculture locality.
Economic development leads to better living conditions
Achievements of Gia Loc district, particularly in agriculture production have boosted up the economic growth of the locality. Over the past several years, annual GDP of the district has increased by 9.15%. Total production value in 2003 is expected be overe VND1,200 billion (according to current price) and the agriculture takes the major proportion. The total value of agriculture production reached VND462 billion in 2000, by 2003, this value was approximately VND546 billion (based on price fixed in 1994) or VND686 billion (according to current price); this means the annual growth rate of agriculture production is 5.75%. In addition, the industry and small-scale industry of the district have reached convincing growth of 11.15% per year. Key products of the local industry and small-scale industry include foodstuff, soft drinks, garment, leather and footwear, wooden works and building materials. As an effort to speed up the development of industry and small-scale industry during upcoming years, the district is building groups and zones of industry and small-scale industry. For instance, So Pagoda group of industry (lying between Road No. 39B and Road No. 17), agriculture-product market (in Gia Xuyen commune), street of leather and footwear in Hoang Dieu commune (on Road No. 17), etc. On the other hand, the district promotes businesses of food and foodstuff processing, non-pollution industry, high-tech industry, labour intensive industries, etc. to invest in the locality.
The rapid development of commodity production has given auspicious conditions to speed up the growth of service sector, particularly services of transportation and sales of agriculture and foodstuff products, production and living facilities. Gia Loc has 12 village markets. Of which, Thach Khoi fish market has a large scale and enables the trade of ten tonnes of fish per day, and Gia Xuyen watermelon market enables the trade of hundred tonnes of watermelon per day. The service sector of Gia Loc has annually increased 17.5% during the past few years.
Thanks to economic development, the living standards of Gia Loc are being improved day by day. By 2003, the district has asphalted 38.5 out of 39 km (equivalent to 98.7%) of provincial roads in the region, and 41% of commune roads. The national electricity grid has approached every household. The number of title proof and flat proof houses reaches 99.7% of houses in the locality. The rate of poor households in the district is only about 5.33% in 2003, the lowest level as compared to other districts of Hai Duong province.
Clearly acknowledging the important role of education for the future of young generations, the people of Gia Loc district has attached great importance to the cause of education and training. As a result, 100% of six-year old children go to school. Four schools at national standards have been built and all communes have fulfilled the universal secondary education programme. The education socialisation is attended in terms of all aspects. The district has given variety of finance sources to invest in schools and education facilities. So far, there are 480 solidified classrooms, equivalent to 93% of all classrooms. Not only that the spiritual and material life of local people is enhancing day by day and there are 30 out of 129 villages in the district meeting standards of culture village by 2003. And therefore, Gia Loc has the highest number of culture villages in Hai Duong province.
In the direction of "developing from agriculture", Gia Loc district during over the past few years has achieved remarkable successes. Thanks to stable price of agriculture products over the past several years together with high efficiency of agriculture production, Gia Loc peasants have been exciting to enrich themselves and their own homeland. The district has become a leading unit in agriculture production of the province during past five consecutive years. And for this reason, the Government has granted a "Excellent Emulation Flag" in agriculture production to the district. Thach Khoi commune has received the title of "Hero in Innovation Age". Those achievements have paved a firm foundation on which Gia Loc could bravely make further steps forwards an agriculture centre in the northern key economic zone in the future.
( According to " Hai Duong - new image in century XXI" -National Politics Publishing House )