I was interested to read your reflections. The way social welfare programmes under the NTP are implemented, and the still prevailing 'subsidy culture' (leading to self-stigma) definitely has something to do with it as well (as is also similar to indigenous issues on the North American continent, by the way). Efforts to include marginalised communities in broad-based economic growth need to go beyond the State supplying inputs or money (subsidies) to stimulating local entrepreneurship and inclusive value chains. Although it is based on a relatively small project evaluation, you may be interested in this study on developing rural markets in Yen Bai and Tuyen Quang, which is geographically located next to Lao Cai that you refer to, and with similar conditions and issues. See: http://www.ncg.dk/index.asp?id=35952
Here is a brief intro: "The evaluation applied an analytical framework that sought to identify how sector sub-systems emerged and consumer behaviour evolved through the alignment of actors towards self-sustained local markets in line with national food security and environmental health targets in these remote mountainous districts, largely populated by ethnic minorities.
By tapping into local systems of policy implementation, organization and social mobilization, the evaluation found evidence of positive impact even in the high altitude mountain communities that previously have not been able to benefit from the expanding domestic demand and growing markets for e.g. rice and pork meat in Vietnam. The evaluation concluded that it is possible to apply a market-based approach that is directly relevant even for the poorest by carefully selecting and framing the problems to be addressed, and making sure adapted and affordable inputs are locally produced and distributed particularly in areas that are geographically remote, structurally marginalized and largely populated by ethnic minorities.
Concurrent with this evaluation, a World Bank funded study also identified the evaluated approach in the northern province of Yen Bai as best practice to reach national sanitation targets in rural areas."