By Meuangkham Noradeth
March 30, 2013
A Phongsaly farmer, Mr Seng Hadxeuy, aged 40, has found that hard work and a burning desire to improve his quality of life has lifted him out of poverty, after growing crops and raising animals for several years.
Mr Seng’s family, who live in Hadxeuy village, Khua district, have shown other villagers that their hard work has enabled them to improve their living conditions and put poverty behind them.
Mr Seng said that at one time his family barely had enough to live on but since they began labouring in their fields to grow rice and rear animals, their lot has vastly improved.
He also learnt that he could call on the government for help, and borrowed 100 million kip from the Agricultural Promotion Bank so that he could plant more rice and keep more pigs.
Mr Seng said that thanks to assistance from the bank and government officials, he is now rearing more pigs than ever before.
He bought 100 piglets from Oudomxay province and after six months was able to sell them for 1.9 million kip per pig, which brought him in more than 160 million kip that year.
His family also keeps chickens and they have a pond where they breed fish. He also grows rubber, teak and agarwood for sale, which brings in more than 20 million kip per year.
Mr Seng now earns about 200 million kip per year on average, and his family is a prime example of how individuals can rise above poverty.
With every member of the family working hard together, they are now reaping the rewards of their efforts and living a better life with each passing year.
He says that in the future he will rear more pigs and chickens and grow more tree species, which he will sell.
Mr Seng’s family is not only a prime example of how individuals can rise above poverty but also of how a neighbourhood can benefit from having a family of their caliber in its midst. Their efforts are helping Khua district as a whole to move closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 as targeted.
Khua district is located in a mountainous and remote area of Phongsaly province. It is not on the government’s list of the 46 poorest districts nationwide but is nevertheless home to a large number of poor families. This means assistance from the government, international organisations and other groups is critical to making a difference in the community.
People in the district mostly grow rice, rubber and cardamom and a variety of vegetables. But it’s difficult for them to expand their farmland because they are surrounded by mountains.
Khua district is home to 5,618 families. At present about 3,496 of those families are living in poverty, and district officials are not sure they will be able to declare basic poverty alleviation by 2015, and have asked for more funding to be made available to build essential infrastructure.
The district contains 98 villages, 23 of which have no road access, and travel in the rainy season is very difficult.
Average annual per capita income is now just over 2.7 million kip, and is expected to reach 3.9 million kip in 2015.
The Lao government defines poverty as not having enough food, lacking adequate clothing, not having permanent housing and lacking access to health, education and transportation services.