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Updated: 2023-10-05 16:27:58

VBSP's 21-year development journey of seeding hopes and aspirations

A companion of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) over the past over two decades has brought a fresh mindset to economic development, helping many needy households to sustainably escape from poverty.

Lu Seo Kho, born in 1985 in Ta Ngai Cho commune in the mountainous province of Lao Cai, has acted as the head of a local savings and loan group since 2005.

Aspiring to change their lives, in 2011, Kho's family came to know that several local residents had brought a kind of tangerine from China to grow in their area and generate an income. Full of determination, they decided to begin their own venture.

VBSP: 21-year development journey on ‘seeding’ hope and aspiration (PR)

Lu Seo Kho's family caring for their orange garden with funding from VBSP, Photo courtesy of Tran Viet - VNA

After borrowing nearly VND100 million (around $4,200) from VBSP’s Lao Cai branch, they crossed the border to buy about 1,000 tangerine seedlings, then learned the necessary cultivation techniques to grow them.

Their family was quite anxious, as it often takes five years for tangerine trees to generate a harvest. The family therefore also engaged in raising pigs, chickens, and growing some herbs.

“This initial period was full of hardships, yet we kept trying and were able to save more than $1,000 each year,” Kho recalled.

In the first year of harvest, their family was delighted as it earned VND20 million ($844) from the sale of three tonnes of tangerines.

The rate of needy households has fallen to 58 per cent in 2023, and is expected to drop by at least 10 per cent annually over the coming years.

In 2018, they decided to grow an additional two hectares of tangerines, with each year yielding about 30 tonnes of the fruit, pushing their total income to VND300-400 million ($12,658-$16,878) annually.

Seeing Lu Seo Kho’s success and attentive guidance, many households in the commune have decided to follow suit.

The communal management authorities then got involved, supporting people with tangerine seedlings and fertiliser. As a result, about 110 households in Ta Ngai Cho commune are now growing tangerines over a total area of more than 88ha.

Currently, a third – or about 200 households – take loans from VBSP’s Lang Son branch, with the poverty rate reducing by 7-8 per cent annually.

This provided the bedrock behind communal chairman Sung Seo Sa’s decision to promote the one crop, one animal model in the commune.

The rate of needy households has fallen to 58 per cent in 2023, and is expected to drop by at least 10 per cent annually over the coming years.

“Ta Ngai Cho commune no longer has any households living in hunger, and the rate of needy households keeps falling steadily,” said Sung Seo Sa.

To date, VBSP Lang Son has received nearly $1.48 billion in authorised capital from the provincial budget, making up 10.6 per cent of the bank’s total capital sources and showing a jump of $1.3 billion compared to the period before the enactment of Directive No.40-CT/TW from the Secretariat on strengthening the Party’s leadership of policy credit.

The total disbursed capital volume from VBSP Lang Son reached over $14 billion as of September 30, and the total outstanding balances from VBSP’s policy credit programmes exceeded $13 billion.

Policy credit has contributed to the effective implementation of three national target programmes on sustainable poverty reduction, new-style countryside development, and economic development for people in ethnic minority groups and mountainous areas.

This has helped to ensure social wellbeing and political stability, playing a pivotal role in pushing back the shark loan practices in these areas.

As such, the rate of needy households across the country has reduced from 9.88 per cent to a mere 2.23 per cent during the 2016-2021 period.

Although the rate of needy households has fallen sharply, the task for VBSP remains challenging.

The vulnerabilities related to economic development create hurdles when addressing the government target of constantly improving people’s spiritual and material lives, and turning Vietnam into a high-income nation by 2045.

On this journey, joint efforts from the whole political system are required to help VBSP bolster the implementation of policy credit programmes to support people in need.

Hong Thuy - Vietnam Investment Review




Poor Households

Lending to poor households 6,6%/year
Lending to poor households in 64 poor districts as stipulated by the Government Resolution No.30a in 2008 3,3%/year

Near Poor Households

Lending to near poor households 7,92%/year


Lending to disadvantaged students 6,6%/year

People in need of loans for job creation

Lending to business establishments owned by war invalids and handicapped persons 3,3%/year


Term Deposit Rate
Overnight 3,04%/year
1 week 3,23%/year
2 week 3,5%/year