NINH THUAN (VNS)— The central coastal province of Ninh Thuan, one of the country's leading salt producers, has closed this year's production season with an output of more than 202,000 tonnes, up 55 per cent against last year.
|Salt farmers in central Ninh Thuan Province's Ninh Hai District harvest a bumper crop that has also brought them better prices this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc HaSalt farmers in central Ninh Thuan Province's Ninh Hai District harvest a bumper crop that has also brought them better prices this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha
The province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says that with an average yield of 400 tonnes per ha and selling prices around VND1.1 million (US$50) a tonne, salt farmers have earned a high income this year.
Many salt farmers said they harvested a bumper crop and earned better prices this year because other salt producing provinces were affected by rains and poor harvests, while Ninh Thuan had little rain and more sunny days.
The salt producing season normally begins in December and lasts until the end of August next year. Some years, the season lasts till September.
With a coastline more than 105km long and sunny weather almost all year round, Ninh Thuan has great advantages for salt production. The province now has 2,371ha of salt fields, mostly in Thuan Nam and Ninh Hai districts.
Ngo Minh Tu, chairman of the Tri Hai Commune People's Committee in Ninh Hai District, said: "Salt farmers here are very glad because they have earned profits of more than VND100 million per ha this year."
The commune has 290 salt farming households with a total area of 210ha.
Besides traditional salt production on soil beds, many farmers in Ninh Thuan have also begun using plastic canvas sheets in their fields to produce clean salt.
This technique has advantages of having a shorter production period, higher yield, whiter salt and less labour costs, because farmers do not need to level salt fields every year.
The salt production period, from pumping sea water into fields and waiting for it evaporate takes about seven days in traditional fields, but only about five days when plastic canvas sheets are used.
However, the initial investment capital for this production method is high.
If farmers use plastic canvas sheets made in South Korea, the cost would come up to about VND1.2 billion ($57,000) per ha.
Ton That Anh Dung, director of the Ninh Thuan Salt Joint Stock Company, said the initial investment cost for salt fields with plastic canvases was high but the sheets could be used for more than 10 years. The productivity of salt fields with plastic canvases is always 25-35 per cent higher than traditional salt fields, he said.
The salt produced in plastic canvases was also cleaner and companies needing clean salt would sign contracts to buy it, offering farmers stable prices, he added. Farmers using plastic canvas sheets to produce clean salt will not have to face the prospect of prices being pushed down by traders, he said.
Of 445ha of salt fields in Ninh Hai, 25 per cent have used plastic canvas, according to the district's Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau. — VNS