Bac Lieu province, the largest salt producer in the Mekong Delta, plans to increase the production of so-called clean salt to help farmers get more profits.

Nguyen Hoang Khai, Deputy Head of the provincial Rural Development Sub-department, said farmers had received instruction on advanced production techniques to apply during the 2012-13 salt season.

One of the techniques involves using plastic canvas sheets in fields to produce clean salt.

This technique has advantages of having a shorter production period, higher yield, whiter salt and less labour costs.

In the 2012-13 salt season, Bac Lieu has 2,660 ha of salt with a total output of 138,642 tonnes, meeting more than 94 percent of the province's target, according to the sub-department.

The area of salt fields that uses plastic canvas sheets to produce clean salt has increased to 62.6 ha during the current salt season. Bac Lieu began using this method in 2008.

Bac Lieu farmers had a bad harvest during this salt season because of unusual rains during the middle and the end of this salt season.

The salt production season normally begins in December and lasts until the end of August.

In recent years, Bac Lieu authorities have invested more in infrastructure in salt production areas. Most salt producing communes now have electricity, clinics and paved roads.

In Dong Hai district, which is Bac Lieu's largest salt producer, 60 farmers were provided with training on how to use the plastic canvas sheets for clean salt production.

"Farmers now have awareness about the benefits of using this method," Khai said, referring to the province's Aquaculture and Agriculture Extension Centre's training programme.

In the 2013-14 salt season, the province targets increasing the area that uses plastic sheets to produce clean salt to 100 ha, with an estimated yield of 52 tonnes per hectare.

To meet this target, local authorities will train more farmers in the proper usage of plastic sheets, Khai said.

Local agencies have asked the local branch of the State Bank of Vietnam to urge local banks to offer loans to farmers who use this method.

They have also asked the Provincial People's Committee to develop support policies for salt farmers when unseasonable rains destroy their harvest, he said.-VNA