Farmers harvest salt in Sóc Trăng Province’s Vĩnh Châu Town. — VNA/VNS Photo Chanh Đa
HCM CITY — Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta are harvesting the 2019-20 salt crop, with the prolonged hot weather providing a bumper harvest, and prices ruling high.
In Sóc Trăng Province’s Vĩnh Châu Town, farmers are producing salt on a total area of 120ha, mostly in Lai Hòa and Vĩnh Tân communes and Vĩnh Phước Ward, according to the town’s Economic Bureau.
Sơn Thành Kha, who has a 3ha salt field in Lai Hòa Commune, said he has completed his first harvest with an output of 50 tonnes.
He expects to complete the second in the next 10 days.
“If the weather is favourable like at the beginning of the season, farmers will have more bumper harvests.”
Farmers can produce salt throughout the season depending on weather conditions and production methods, depending on whether they use traditional methods or using plastic sheets to cover fields to produce clean salt.
It takes about 10 -15 consecutive sunny days for a salt harvest using the traditional method, while it takes 10-12 days using plastic sheets.
Bến Tre Province has 1,150 households who produce salt on a total area of more than 1,200ha, mostly in Ba Tri and Bình Đại districts, according to its Rural Development Sub-department.
In Bến Tre, traders now buy salt at a price of VNĐ40,000-50,000 (US$1.7-2.2) per 45 kilogrammes, which is profitable, according to farmers.
Farmers in Bến Tre started production one month earlier than last year after the rainy season ended early.
Võ Tiến Sĩ, head of the Bến Tre Rural Development Sub-department, said farmers have harvested nearly 10,000 tonnes of salt so far.
In the delta, salt is made mostly in the coastal provinces of Bạc Liêu, Bến Tre, Sóc Trăng and Trà Vinh.
In Bạc Liêu, the largest producer, farmers make salt on a total of 1,670ha, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Nguyễn Quốc Vinh, who has been making salt for nearly 20 years in Bạc Liêu’s Đông Hải District, said production using plastic sheets has yielded around 70 tonnes per 1,000sq.m this season and an income of VNĐ5 million ($220).
This is the second straight year of bumper harvests and high prices, he said.
“To save time, we harvest even at night to sell to traders.”
Trịnh Hoài Thanh, deputy director of the Bạc Liêu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said yields are 30 per cent higher when using plastic sheets.
The method also requires less tending, produces whiter salt and fetches higher profits, he said.
However, the cost is higher, and farmers need support policies to expand the area on which the method is used, he added.
Bạc Liêu salt is exported to Cambodia, South Korea and Japan. VNS