Although Ninh Giang is a monoculture district, agricultural production is facing with numerous difficulties due to unfertile land, pond and lake dominated-depressed area, and impact of flood and storm. Many cultivated land regions in Ninh Giang district become the "white field" (unable to cultivate) and are famous for the "groping duck fields" and wild weeds such as sedge and co nan. In the past, low wet-rice cultivation standard and traditional rice breeds such as tep, cham, ri and Moc Tuyen brought about low annual productivity at around 2.5 tons per ha. In 1997, one year after the province's splitting, agriculture accounted for a major proportion (79.5%) in the district's economic structure and the rest were industry-handicraft (11.5%) and service (9%).
What should be done to improve people living standard is a question pondering in the heart of each cadre, Party member and citizen in Ninh Giang district. Is it only way if overcoming the naturally unfavourable conditions for production development? The image of Uncle Ho on the two visits to the district, who was together with the local people operating feet-reel for anti-flooding and his recommendations are still a driving-force for Ninh Giang people on their way to enhancing economic development and building up a wealth-off and prosperous life.
Agricultural economy playing a leading role
From seven experimental communes in 2002, Ninh Giang People's Committee has pushed up the pace of plot herding and changing to clear away the state of ragged land fields. Regarding production, Ninh Giang reorganises the structure of crops and rice breeds with main rice breeds such as 13/2, X21, Xi 23, Q 5, Khang dan 18 and sticky rice R 352... The local-consumed rice-areas are formed district-wide with a total area of 300 ha that includes 5-10 ha in each commune. The technique of ground-rice seeding and sapling rice seeding has been widely applied. The district has also made planning for development of commodity-based rice areas with rice breeds such as Bac Thom, Soc Trang 3; and export-oriented crops with breeds of high quality and commercial value such as cucumber, green squash, chilly and potato... Regarding husbandry, the district has created favourable conditions for building up VAC-formulated-husbandry farming system. The movement of crops and husbandry structure transformation has been rapidly developed. In just few years, over 330 ha out of 600 ha of unstable-one-crop rice area has been used for digging ponds, forming gardens and building farms. The riverside land areas and even low-productivity-two crop-rice areas have been transformed.
The efforts in agriculture field have brought about practical results. The average rice productivity reaches over 11 tonnes per ha; land rotation co-efficient reaches 2.3 times. The herd of pigs and castle has been sharply increased. By 2003, there have been three concentratively large-scale-lean-meat-pig farms with highly economic value district wide. Basing on land distribution and the locally practical status, the district has defined that aquaculture is a breakthrough in economic development. Hence, the district Government has supplied guidance to build up a model of concentratively aquaculture of 2-3 ha, which doubled the aquaculture area from 300 ha (in 1997) to 650 ha (in 2003). So far, there have been 3,300 commercial-fish-raising households district wide. Moreover, people and authorities in Ninh Giang district have actively implemented a project of 124ha aquaculture area in the North of Cuu An River that was planned and consistently invested in term of material base. Basing on experience extracting from the implementation of the project, the model will be widespread applied to other regions with aiming at raising the value per ha of aquaculture to VND50 million and upwards using new fish breeds and applying scientific and technological advances in aquaculture.
In order to wipe out the pure agriculture status, Ninh Giang district has paid special attention to developing industry, handicraft and service. Four handicraft zones concentrate in the Ninh Giang township, Cau Ram, Goc market (Kien Quoc commune), Tuy Hoa (Van Hoi commune). The district has also attached special to development of the traditional trade villages such as embroidery and carpet knitting in Ung Hoe and Quyet Thang communes; weaving in La Khe (Ninh Thanh commune), Van Diem (Hung Long); carpentry in Cuc Bo (Kien Quoc commune); construction in Hung Long commune. There have been 2,360 establishments of industrial production and handicraft district wide, mainly specialising in agricultural product processing and production of consumer goods that has attracted nearly 9,000 labourers. In addition, the three nearly-VND20 billion-capital limited companies and three handicraft co-operatives have also provided employment to hundreds of labourers.
Seeking markets for agricultural products, the district has paid attention to developing agricultural service co-operatives and implementing the model combining the "four elements"- the State, scientists, farmers and entrepreneurs. Additionally, 22,000 households district wide are involved in trade and transport services that meet the demand for transporting goods and people in the district.
These above-mention efforts have pushed up the district's economic growth rate. In 2002, the district's GDP growth rate reached 8.3 percent; the production value reached VND833 billion increasing by 1.7 times compared to 1997. The economic structure has recorded positive advance: yearly agricultural growth rate increased to 7.5 percent (2001-2002) from 5.8 percent (1997-2000) and that of aquaculture increased by 15%. The proportion of agriculture declined to 55.8% (2002) from 79.5% (1997). In 2002, industry and handicraft accounted for 15.7% and service 28.5% in the district's economic structure.
Focusing on infrastructure construction
In couple with attention to economic development, Ninh Giang district has also paid special attention to enhance quality of infrastructure. Regarding traffic network, the district has improved 470 km of rural roads and the waterway routes belonging to the river system of Luoc, Dinh Dao and Cuu An. There have been 45 electricity-driven pumping stations with 239 water pumps, actively ensuring the irrigation of 93% of cultivated area. Presently, the district is providing concrete guidance for strengthening of irrigation canal system and it is planned to finish the strengthening 50% of the irrigation canals by 2010. At the same time, each commune is making plan to yearly build at least one kilometre of third-grade canal. Post and telecommunication has rapidly developed; the broadcasting of radio and television is transmitted to every single place in the province; 15 out of 28 communes and townships have culture-cum-post offices. So far, the average telephone per 100 people district wide has reached 2.7 increasing by 1.27 telephones in comparison with 2000; electricity is available to all communes. In addition, the district has built a water supply plant and thousands of bore wells supplying clean water for the local people.
The economy has witnessed a remarkable growth; people's living standard has gradually improved: the average capita income increased to VND3.68 million (2002) from VND2.5 million (1997); 87% of the households has got access to clean water; 90% of the households has had tile-roofed houses; the well-off households account for 38% and the poor households declined to 11.7 % in 2002 from 15% in 2001. Healthcare and community health has regularly paid attention to, thousands of poor people have been provided the free-of-charge medical examinations; the rate of expanding immunisation reaches nearly 100% of the children in the right age. Education and training work has been comprehensively developed. There exists 90 schools district wide, 57 of which have been strengthened; the rate of a teacher per pupils reached 26.7 ranking the second province-wide. Thanks to successfully propagandising and disseminating on population and family planning, the population growth rate of the district remains low at 0.77 percent per year. Culture-information activities have well performed the function of propagandising the Party's guidelines and policies, the State's laws; arts-sports competition festivals have been regularly held and the district has gained many high prizes at the provincial level.
According to Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Truyen- member of the Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of Ninh Giang Party Committee, from now to 2005, as taking economic development as the key task, the district has mapped out plan to stabilise 6,000 ha of rice field and gain rice productivity of over 13 tonnes per ha to ensure food security. At the same time, 1,500 ha of low-productivity-rice area will be shifted to aquaculture and highly economic value crops in form of farm-based economy; it is also planned to grow winter crops, mainly crops for export creating specialised areas accounting over 35% of the cultivated areas. The scientific and technological advances will be further applied in agricultural production. The district will take over new breeds for aquaculture and gradually formulate concentrated aquaculture area in the North of Cuu An River with an area of 124 ha; the farmers are encouraged to develop commercial crossbred porkers and new poultry breeds. Agricultural production will be combined with processing and consumption; the advantages of private, State-owned enterprises and agricultural service co-operatives will be further brought into play.
Regarding industry and handicraft, Ninh Giang district focuses on strengthening and developing the traditional trade villages in connection with handicraft and industry groups, creating favourable conditions for investing in processing industry, agricultural production of small and medium enterprises, attracting much more labour and generating on-the-spot employment in the district. It is good news for the district that Khuc Thua Du Temple will be rebuilt in the former ancient Khuc Mieu in the territory of Cuc Bo village, Kien Quoc commune. The works will be not only in memory of a national celebrity but also a particular cultural and eco-tourist site in Hong River Delta. The work together with Con Son and Kiep Bac historical relics in the North will create new tourism potential for Hai Duong province in general and Ninh Giang district in particular. Being a central-remote district in the South of the province with inconvenient traffic network, the district has a legitimate expectation that the Road No 17 will be soon improved to Nation Road connecting Hai Duong with other provinces, Hai Phong City, Thai Binh province and the region generating favourable conditions for economic development and attracting domestic and foreign investors.
Hopefully, the expectation of Ninh Giang's people and authorities will be soon satisfied, adding much more strength for the district to successfully implement the set socio-economic targets.
( According to " Hai Duong - new image in century XXI" -National Politics Publishing House )