|Fields lined with canvas sheets protect the salt from soil contamination, improving quality. — Photo nld
HCM CITY (VNS) — Farmers in HCM City's outlying Can Gio District have seen higher incomes as a result of advanced production techniques, including the use of canvas sheets on fields to produce cleaner salt.
The use of the sheets has increased both quality and yield, with farmers earning about VND38.2 million (US$1,800) per hectare per year, double the profit made from traditional methods, according to local authorities. Most farmers harvest two hectares of salt fields.
In 2007, the district initiated the canvas-sheet programme over an area of 2,000sq.m.
Fields lined with canvas sheets protect the salt from soil contamination, improving quality.
Today, there are 909ha of fields that use canvas sheets, or 54.6 per cent of the district's total salt area, according to the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The district's salt fields are located mostly in Ly Nhon, Thanh An and Long Hoa communes and Can Thanh Town.
Nguyen Thi Bich, who owns 3ha of salt fields in Thanh An Commune's Thieng Lieng Hamlet, began using the sheets this year.
She said they had helped reduce the production time from 10-15 days to seven days per harvest.
Early this year, the Thieng Lieng Women Union in co-operation with the Thieng Lieng Salt Co-operative showed farmers in Thieng Lieng Hamlet how to use canvas sheets to increase their profits.
This year, traders have offered an average price of VND1,300 a kilo of salt harvested on canvas sheets, VND100 higher than salt produced in fields without the sheets.
In 2012, Can Gio authorities began to offer funds to help farmers build cellars to store condensed salt water from fields after rains.
In the 2013-14 salt harvesting season, district authorities and the city's Sub-department of Rural Development and Department of Science and Technology gave financial support to 17 households who harvested a total of 34 ha of salt in Ly Nhon and Thanh An communes.
Hoang Thi Mai, deputy head of the city's Sub-department of Rural Development, said the city would expand the area of salt fields lined with canvas sheets.
With a 23-km long coastline, Can Gio, one of the country's top salt producers, has produced 1,666ha of salt this year, up 150ha over the same period last year, according to the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. — VNS