Viet Nam News
BẾN TRE – Salt producers in the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre have yet to begin their harvest one month into the 2018 -19 season because of unseasonable rains.
Trương Văn Lai, who makes salt in a one-hectare field in Ba Tri District’s Bảo Thạnh Commune, said he has spent more than VNĐ20 million (US$860) during one month but been unable to harvest any salt because of the rains.
Normally he would have harvested around three tonnes by now, he said.
This year it would take him nearly one month more if the rain keeps away and there is sunshine, he said.
“The price of salt is increasing but farmers do not have salt for selling.”
Traders are buying salt at a price of VNĐ64,000 – 68,000 ($2.7 – 2.9) for 40kg.
Farmers are now preparing their salt fields for production in the aftermath of Typhoon Pabuk last week.
Nguyễn Thị Nhung of Bảo Thạch said the salt production season only lasts a few months in the dry season and her family then relies on it for a living.
During the rainy season they have to work as daily labourers, she said.
In Bảo Thạch, people produce salt on more than 600ha, or 40 per cent of the province’s total salt production area, and harvested 27,000 tonnes in the 2017-18 season, according to the commune People’s Committee.
Lê Văn Vũ Thanh, chairman of the commune People’s Committee, said unseasonable rains have badly hit people in the commune since salt production is their traditional occupation.
A large number of producers in Bến Tre, one of the delta’s largest salt producers, are poor since their livelihood depends on the weather and salt prices.
Authorities there encourage farmers to use plastic sheets to cover salt fields to produce cleaner salt.
Besides, this method also helps improve production by 30 per cent compared to the traditional method.
The province has more than 1,400ha of salt fields, mostly in Ba Tri and Bình Đại districts, which produce around 65,000 tonnes annually.
It plans to reduce the area to 600ha by 2020.
Local authorities have called on salt producers to switch to other vocations if their lands give low yields or are unzoned. – VNS