Farmers in Sam Son city, the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, have become rich by developing traditional fish sauce production and business. (Photo: VNA)

Thanh Hoa (VNA) – Farmers in Sam Son city, the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, have become rich by developing traditional fish sauce production and business.

The trade in Sam Son dates back over a century ago, first produced in coastal villages of Quang Cu, Quang Tien, Trun Son and Truong Son. However, it is now popular in the whole city, creating jobs and good income for hundreds of locals.

As fish sauce comprises of two elements, fish and salt, local people have to prepare fresh anchovy, sardinella and decapterus, which are then washed with water. After that alternating layers of fish and sale are placed in a wooden vat for up to 12 months to ferment. Later, the liquid of the fermentation process seeps down and is drained. The fish sauce is bottled before it is sold at the markets.

According to Hoang Thang Vich, Chairman of the Sam Son Seafood Association, the association has 26 fish sauce making households, and his family is having the largest production establishments.

“I sell some 500 litres of fish sauce each day. My family has got richer with an average revenue of nearly 1 billion VND (42,700 USD) a year. We have 12 workers, each paid 9 million VND per month.”

Currently, Vich’s fish sauce is granted with a food safety and hygiene certificate, and it is mostly consumed in Hanoi city and Hoa Binh and Bac Giang provinces. For years, his product has been honoured as outstanding agricultural goods by the Vietnam Farmers’ Union.

Meanwhile, Hoang Thang Minh, a resident on Nguyen Thi Loi Street, Trung Son ward, said that his fish sauce has been on good sales besides other seafood like yellowstripe scad, dried squid and flower crab. The fish sauce alone brings around 500 million VND a year to his family, and creates jobs for 10 local labourers.

Fish sauce production also generates considerable gains for other locals like Nguyen Sy Doan and Vu Thi Lan, who pocket 130 million VND and 100 million VND each year.

Tran Ngoc Dinh, Chairman of the Quang Tien ward People’s Committee, said that consumers do not have to worry about food safety and hygiene as Sam Son fish sauce is produced in the traditional way which has a history of hundreds of years and free of chemicals and additives.

The ward now has 15 fish sauce making households and they are earning around 100- 150 million VND in revenue each year, he said, adding that the ward will recommend competent authorities to develop brand for local fish sauce while signing contracts with businesses to ensure market for local staple.

Sam Son city is now home to more than 160 fish sauce making establishments, who sell over 4 million litres to the market daily.

According to Vu Dinh Chinh, deputy head of the city’s economic bureau, the municipal People’s Committee is carrying a project to manage and branch out a collective brand for Sam Son fish sauce, a move that helps locals popularise, improve quality as well as competitive edge of their products, and raise public awareness of food safety and hygiene.

The project has brought about practical results, particularly creating jobs and increasing income for fish sauce producers.

In the coming time, the city will continue its survey and evaluation, and set up intellectual property rights for the Sam Son collective fish sauce brand. Besides, due attention will be paid to brand management, origin tracing process, and packaging.

The city authorities have directed competent agencies to enhance food safety inspection at fish sauce production establishments, he added.-VNA