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Salt farmers cornered by imports

Salt farmers around the country are suffering from large stockpiles and throwaway prices as Vietnam keeps importing salt though there is no supply shortage, Nguoi Lao Dong Newspaper reported.

Salt farmers around the country are suffering from large stockpiles and throwaway prices as Vietnam keeps importing salt though there is no supply shortage (Photo: D. Quang)

Vietnam has imported 100,000 tons of salt so far this year, driving some 250,000 farmers in 120 coastal communes countrywide to a corner as prices have fallen to a mere VND500 a kg.

According to the People’s Committee of Song Cau Town in the central province of Phu Yen, the stockpile of the town’s two major salt farms Tuyet Diem and Trung Trinh have reached a record 5,000 tons, which is a third of the total production.

An official at Song Cau said, with prices standing at VND500 a kg and an annual production of only 6 tons a year, a farmer will earn a meager VND3 million after a year of hard work. And with input costs amounting to VND1 million, the remaining profit wasn’t even enough to make ends meet.

Nguyen Thi Truong, a 45-year-old farmer in Tuyet Diem Village, said she had stopped working for the salt farm for the past two months.

“I’m working for the salt traders to earn tens of thousands dong a day,” she said. “It’s much better.”

Like Truong, other farmers in the village are also finding other kinds of work, neglecting the salt farms which are now mostly covered with moss although it is still harvesting times.

Nguyen Van Khuong, Chairman of Xuan Binh Commune’s People’s Committee, said salt imports were the culprit.

Meanwhile, salt traders are earning whopping profits as their selling prices to salt processors are much higher than what they pay to buy salt from farmers.

In the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, for instance, farmers can sell their salt for VND450 a kg of black salt and VND800 a kg of white salt at most. But these prices are only half of what traders charge processors.

To avoid being forced to sell at throwaway prices by traders, Tran Van Do, a farmer of Long Dien Dong Commune and other farmers have tried to sell their salt directly to processors.

Source: Tuoitrenews

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