Viet Nam News
HCM CITY– Salt producers in the southern coastal province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu have been busy with their harvest in recent days thanks to the good weather around Tết.
They are happy because prices are steady at VNĐ1,100-1,200 (US$0.04-0.05) per kilogramme.
Just after the Lunar New Year early this month salt fields in Long Điền District’s An Ngãi Commune, the largest in the province at a combined 350ha, were crowded with harvesting farmers.
Huỳnh Văn Thuyết, a local salt producer, was happy that this year he could harvest thrice with the three-hectare field yielding more than 35 tonnes the last time compared to just 20 tonnes the previous time.
In previous years lesser sunshine meant the harvest would go on for 13-15 days or even longer, but this season, because of the large number of hours of sunshine, it took only eight to 12 days to produce salt of good quality, he said.
Nguyễn Văn Gia, another farmer in An Ngãi, said he used plastic sheets to cover his four-hectare field and harvested more than 30 tonnes on two occasions.
He has one more hectare of salt field, which he has yet to harvest.
The constant wind contributed to harvesting early this year, he said.
Salt from previous harvests had been sold out since prices had been steady, and so the production this season was being fully consumed in the market, he said.
In other salt fields in Ward 12 and Long Sơn Island in Vũng Tàu City, people are harvesting for the first time this year.
Nguyễn Văn Thành, a farmer, said in 2017 and before that producers had suffered losses after prices dropped to VNĐ400-VNĐ700 per kilogramme.
Many of them even gave up salt farming, and as a result the production area in the province had reduced, he said.
It is down by 100ha to 714ha, according to the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Most of the fields are in Long Điền District and cities of Bà Rịa and Vũng Tàu.
Nguyễn Lê Yến Hà, deputy head of the department’s Division for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance, said the department had collaborated with its counterparts in Kiên Giang, Bình Thuận and other provinces and HCM City to ensure all the salt would be bought.
It has urged the province People’s Committee to offer incentives to companies investing in factories for salt processing and the Bà Rịa Salt brand name.
The province is upgrading infrastructure for salt production, including dredging of four canals to supply water to salt fields.
Two large areas for storing salt are being created in Long Điền District at a cost of VNĐ42.3 billion.
The province produces nearly 40,000 tonnes of salt a year, with farmers earning nearly VNĐ50 million ($2,150) per hectare if they use traditional production methods without plastic sheets to cover the field and around VNĐ106 million if they use the sheets.
Its main markets are the south-western provinces.–VNS