President Truong Tan Sang paid working visits to three provinces in the Central Highlands (Tay Nguyen) on Friday and Saturday to inspect their implementation of socio-economic development tasks.
In meetings with leaders from Gia Lai, Dak Lak and Kon Tum provinces, Sang lauded the "remarkable" socio-economic progress they gained after one year of implementing the Resolution of the 11th National Party Congress.
He told each province, as well as the entire region, that with the potential offered by abundant land, they should plan to expand plantation areas while maintaining forest coverage for environmental protection.
At his working session with Gia Lai Province on Saturday, Sang heard from local leaders that the provincial economic growth rate reached 13 per cent last year with a shift towards the service industry, development of zones specialising in producing cash crops and construction of processing plants.
Home to a great number of ethnic minority residents, the province said it had done well in improving their livelihoods, with 96 per cent of minority households owning their homes, 99 per cent having access to the national power grid and 80 per cent possessing health insurance cards by the end of last year.
The provincial leaders, however, asked for more State aid to erect houses for the needy and upgrade some downgraded roads.
Sang told the province to raise the quality of its training activities for cadres at the local level and work out measures and plans to train and use cadres who are ethnic minority people.
On Friday, Sang toured the border commune of La Nam in Duc Co District in the same province.
There, he praised local efforts to expand production areas and actively apply scientific and technological advances to increase productivity and product quality.
He asked the provincial authorities to work closely with local officials to implement poverty reduction programmes.
The President also visited the mobile police regiment in the Central Highlands, Army Corps No 3 and the High Command of Army Corps No 15.
In Dak Lak Province, Sang visited Ea Tul Commune in Cu M'gar District and heard about the progress in building new rural areas under a national programme, and a joint plan between farmers and enterprises on producing high-quality coffee.
He called on a coffee grower in Ko Tam Village, Buon Ma Thuot City who is using drip watering technology from Israel. Sang heard that the coffee output went up by 1.5 fold in two years after adoption of the new technology, earning the grower an additional VND70 million (US$3,300) each year.
In a meeting with the Tay Nguyen Steering Committee, Sang learned about local land issues, forestry policies, transport development investment and economic and commercial co-operation with Laos and Cambodia.
He emphasised the need for the region to make more efforts to implement land-related policies and Party building at the local level.
In Kon Tum Province, Sang visited several locations including the border post and residential areas.
Provincial authorities suggested the State invest in traffic routes in the province such as the Ho Chi Minh Highway and National Roads 24 and 14C./.