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President attends tree planting, ploughing festivals

State President Nguyen Minh Triet launched the Tree Planting Festival for this year at the Dong Van Industrial Zone in the northern province of Ha Nam on February 20.

This year’s Tree Planting Festival, themed “Planting tree to mitigate impacts of climate change”, is the 50th festival since President Ho Chi Minh launched the first one. It becomes the nation’s tradition in early Spring of the Lunar New Year. After the launch, President Triet and other participants planted trees.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in 2009, 246,000ha of new forests were developed and 170 million trees were planted across the country, helping raise the country’s green coverage to 39.4%.

The same day, President Triet attended the Tich Dien Mua Xuan (Spring Ploughing) Festival, which was initiated more than 1,000 years ago to promote agriculture, at Doi Son Commune, Ha Nam Province.

Addressing the festival, the President said although Vietnam is advancing to industrialisation and modernisation, it still places importance on agriculture as more than 60% of the population relies heavily on agriculture.

"The festival reminds us to show deep gratitude to our predecessors and our kings, who cared about and committed to improving production," said Triet.

Clad in a peasant's plain brown outfit, the President ploughed the first furrows and was followed by young women who placed the first seeds in the newly prepared earth amid the applause of a crowd of people.

Ministers, ministerial officials and provincial authorities also took their turns to plough at the festival.

"I am proud of being able to share an experience with our nation's farmers," said Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat. He added "I hope and pray for bumper crops and favourable weather."

According to organisers, tens of thousands of people took part in this year's Tich Dien Mua Xuan Festival, which was the first time held as an official occasion.

The festival began in 987 during the Le Dynasty when King Le Dai Hanh decided to plough in Doi Son Commune, Duy Tien District, to wish for bumper crops. The practice became an annual tradition held in early Spring. (Source: VNA)

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