Staff from the Legal Consultation Center visited communes affected by the irrigation project several times to provide citizens with information on their property rights June 2012 – Mr Hoang Van Khoa and Mrs Ung Duoc Lan live in Phan Lam, a mountainous commune in Bac Binh district, in the southeastern province of Binh Thuan in Viet Nam. In 2008, they lost their seven hectares of land which was to be used for a reservoir basin for an irrigation project. As a result, they were deprived of the income they earned from growing cashew nuts.
“All our farm land was reclaimed but we did not know how much compensation we would receive, so we were not able to plan for the future,” Khoa explains. “We were worried that we would not have any land for farming.”
Khoa and Lan started farming in Phan Lam back in 1996. They did not have a house of their own then. Two of their four children had to drop out of school because of a lack of money. Their third child was born with congenital heart defects, so they had to spend money on her treatment. However, the couple learnt how to plant cashews and they were soon able to harvest 3.5 tons of cashew nuts per year. This earned them about 120 million dong (approximately 5,700 US dollars) every year, and they built their house just before the land was reclaimed.