President of the Chemical Society of Viet Nam Le Quoc Khanh spoke with Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper about the need to boost the quality of salt production in Viet Nam.
What do you think about salt production in Viet Nam?
Vietnamese salt makers tend to produce salt in the traditional way and their final product is edible but the quality is low. For example, in the northern region, salt water used to make salt comes from estuaries, which is full of alluvial deposits. Consequently, it contains a high content of impurities. Production also depends on the weather. Prolonged rain or cold affects productivity. Among the few exemptions is central Binh Thuan Province's Ca Na salt-making area where the salt produced is of good quality. However, the region can only produce 7,000-10,000 tonnes annually, which meets just 3-4 per cent of demand for sodium hydroxide and chlorine production. The paradox is that Viet Nam has huge potential when it comes to salt-making, but it is still dependent on imports.
So we are still dependent on imports of salt, particularly industrial salt?
In the short term, to meet the needs of sodium hydroxide and chlorine production, yes. However, it is necessary to keep a close eye on imports, especially in terms of volume. Viet Nam is short of industrial salt but it can produce enough edible salt for people's daily use. Over-imports could lead to an oversupply of consumable salt.
In the long term, what is the solution?
I think the first step should be to invest in salt-sector technology. Few studies have been conducted in this field.
The Government has a crucial part to play when it comes to attracting scientists and enterprises. For example, it could offer low-interest loans to salt makers. Salt producers should be treated in the same way farmers, fishermen are. — VNS