Agriculture ministry seeks to assist salt sector

Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said it would carry out five salt production projects this year, and launch a project to buy salt from farmers in a fresh move to support the business.

File photo shows a salt field in Vietnam

Nationwide, salt prices at which farmers sell the commodity have recently increased slightly, according to the ministry’s Division of Agricultural, Forestry, Fisheries Products and Salt. However, out-of-season rains in the Mekong Delta since January this year have cut into the region’s salt output.

Salt farmers in northern and central Vietnam, meanwhile, are taking advantage of sunny days to harvest more salt.

Mr. Nguyen Van Khu, deputy chief of the Duyen Hai Co-operative in Hai Hau District, Nam Dinh Province in the north, said local farmers “are happy with the current prices, though not much.”

The selling price of salt is now ranging VND1,200-VND1,800 in the north.

The agriculture ministry’s salt forecast for this year is Vietnam would produce 1.46 billion tons of salt while consumption be 1.38 billion tons. The surplus would be 80,000 tons.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thu, chief of the salt sub-division of the Division of Agricultural, Forestry, Fisheries Products and Salt, said he was concerned a little because of the fact that last year’s salt output was equal to 80% of the target.

Some agriculture ministry studies showed that many of the salt farmers in Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces in the north and central region have shifted to other businesses for more profits.

Another difficulty faced by Vietnam’s salt sector currently is a lack of expertise and labor.

A solution is that the ministry is to assign some colleges managed by the ministry to build up training programs for the sector, with focus on green technology. The ministry would carry out five salt production projects in the provinces of Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, as well initiate a project to buy salt from farmers.

Some pilot projects to make clean salt have recently turned out initial successes, according to Mr. An Van Khanh, deputy chief of the Division of Agricultural, Forestry, Fisheries Products and Salt. Some shipments of clean salt have been exported to Japan. He is of the view that investment into green technology would stop Vietnam’s import of clean salt and help the country export more.

By Van Nguyen, translated by Tuong Thuy

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