Binh Phuoc Province, Southern Vietnam
Capital: Dong Xoai
Area: 6,857.3 km² (2,647.6 sq mi)
Population: About 900,000 people
Density: 120/km² (310/sq mi)
Demographics: Vietnamese, Xtiêng, Nùng, Tày, Khmer
Calling code: 651
Binh Phuoc is a province of Vietnam. It is in the southeastern region of the country, to the north of Ho Chí Minh City. It also shares a border with Cambodia.
Binh Phuoc Province is the result of a merger of two former provinces: Phuoc Long Province and Binh Long Province, which existed before reunification. Both Phuoc Long and Binh Long then became part of Sông Bé Province in 1976, which also included Bình Duong Province. Sông Bé Province was dissolved in 1997 and Binh Phuoc again became a separate province. Several significant battles were fought in what is now Binh Phuoc Province. These include the Battle of Sông Bé in May 1965, the Battle of Dong Xoai in June 1965, the Battle of Loc Ninh in April 1972, and the Battle of Phuoc Long from December 1974 to January 1975.
Binh Phuoc Province is relatively flat with elevations of between 50m and 200m throughout most of the provinces. Elevations are gradually higher towards the east of the province and reach around 500m near parts of the border to the Dak Nong Province of the Central Highlands. The highest elevation is Ba Ra mountain (736m) in the centre of the province. There are several hills around the province with heights of up to around 200m in the west and 300m in the southeast.
Most of the rivers in the province are tributaries of the Bé river, which in turn is a tributary of the Đong Nai River. Thác Mo lake is a large artificial lake in the east of the province. Several rivers originating from the Central Highlands flow into it, including dak Glun, dak Nhau, dak Rlap, and dak Oa (from north to south). It is the point of origin of Bé river, which flows through much of central and western Binh Phuoc.
Forestry land takes up 337,000 ha or 49 per cent of the province’s total area Forests are located mostly in the northeast and southeast of the province as well as along the northern border to Cambodia and the western border to Tây Ninh Province. Much of the rest of the area grow perennial cash crops. The total agricultural area is 293,700 ha. There are 21,900 ha of specially used land and 5700 ha of residential land.
Binh Phuoc is one of the agriculturally most productive provinces of Vietnam, especially relying on cash crops such as cashew nuts, and rubber. As of 2007, its agricultural GDP per capita was 7.03 million VND, the highest in Vietnam, while industrial GDP per capita was only 1.7 million VND, making it one of the least industrialized provinces in the southern half of Vietnam. Binh Phuoc’s GDP in 2007 was 9534.4 billion VND or 11.58 million VND per capita, which is 86 per cent of the national and significantly lower than that of the other provinces in the southeastern region. Growth in GDP has been between 14 and 15 per cent per year from 2000 to 2007.
Binh Phuoc exported goods with a value of 325.5 million US$ in 2007, far exceeding its imports of 57.4 million. Since 2000, exports have increased almost sevenfold while imports increased almost tenfold. Main export products include rubber latex, shelled cashew nuts and pepper.
Agriculture in Binh Phuoc is dominated by perennial crops, mainly cashew nuts, rubber, coffee, and pepper. 4333 of the 4458 farms in 2007 were perennial crop farms. Production of cereals is much less significant and accounts only for a small part of agricultural area and output. 34,200 tons of rice and 19.7 tons of maize were harvested in 2007, accounting for only 0.1 and 0.5 per cent of the national output. Sweet potatoes and cassava are also grown in Binh Phuoc.
In fact, the most important cash crop is cashew nuts. 156,377 tons of cashew nuts were harvested in 2007, accounting for 51.8 per cent of the national output. This is a significant increase from 110,000 tons in 2006 and just 19,000 tons in 2000. Cashew nuts are grown mostly in the east and south of the province, roughly along (north and west of) National Road 14. Cashew nuts are an important export product for Binh Phuoc as well as Vietnam in general. Exports in 2010 are expected to reach 1 billion USD, while there are also increasing imports of raw cashew nuts because processing capacity by now significantly exceeds the quantity grown in Vietnam.
Another important crop is rubber, with 147,520 tons produced in 2007. This accounts for 24.5 per cent of the national output and has more than doubled since 2000 (67,000 tons). Rubber is mostly produced in the north and west of the province, along the Bé River and National Road 13. Binh Phuoc’s pepper production also accounts for significant share of national output (24 per cent). Production has more than doubled to 21,736 between 2000 and 2007. Pepper is grown in the southwest of the province in the districts of Bình Long and Chon Thành, between National Road 13 and the Bé River.
Coffee is grown in the northeast of the province, north of Thác Mo Lake. 56,148 tons of coffee were harvested in 2007, accounting for 5.8 per cent of the national output. Other crops include coconuts (877 tons in 2007), sugar cane (28,800 tons), peanuts (800 tons) and cotton (500 tons).
Industry and construction contribute only 14.7 per cent to the province’s GDP as of 2007. However, it has contributed significantly to recent economic growth. While the large agricultural sector has been growing by around 10 per cent from 2005 to 2007, the growth of industry and construction was 35.8, 25.9, and 21.6 per cent in these three years.
Many of the industries base on agricultural products or raw materials. Food processing industries include the production of shelled cashew nuts (29,200 tons) and cassava starch (78,100 tons). There is also an industry producing hand farming tools. Other industries include construction materials (stones and bricks) and forest product processing (saw wood and paper).
Politically, Binh Phuoc has seven districts:
– Bù Dang
– Bù Dop
– Bu Gia Map
– Chon Thành
– Dong Phú
– Hon Quan
– Loc Ninh
– Dong Xoai, Binh Long and Phuoc Long are municipalities.
Binh Phuoc province had a population in 2007 of 823,600. This is a significant increase from 684,600 in 2000. In contrast to many other provinces, much of this growth has taken place in rural areas, where population increased by 118,500 compared to 20,500 in urban areas. Binh Phuoc is a predominantly rural province, with only 15.4 per cent of the population living in towns. The population has grown by 16.5 per cent between 2000 and 2005, but has since slowed down to 2.23 per cent in 2006 and 1 per cent in 2007.
Besides the majority Vietnamese, there are minorities of Xtiêng, Nùng, Tày, and Khmer. Ethnic minorities are present throughout the province.
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