Vietnam’s salt output soared 146 percent to over 800,000 tonnes in the first half of this year as farmers switched to salt production to capitalise on its growing market value.

The increase in salt producing areas promises to lift salt output to more than one million tonnes for the whole year, adequately meeting local demand, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

To reap these satisfactory results, the provincial and municipal People’s Committees have paid due attention to directing salt production, processing and consumption to keep the price of salt at a reasonable level and help farmers increase their income, said deputy director of MARD’s Department of Agro-Forestry-Fisheries and Salt An Van Khanh.

Meanwhile, some leading salt businesses like the southern Sosal Group, helped farmers consume their salt and ensure market stabilisation. The group is expected to buy and manufacture more than 711,300 tonnes of salt in 2013.

In order to advance the salt quality and decrease dependence on high-quality salt imports, the State has strengthened its support for farmers to upgrade their salt fields, prioritising agricultural expansion, industrial stimulation, poverty reduction and the construction of new-style rural areas.

Many local farmers received technical assistance to switch to producing clean salt crystals on salt fields with canvas, which proves very effective with better quality, productivity and ability to serve industrial production, compared to conventional methods.

Deputy Head of the Ben Tre provincial Department of Rural Development Nguyen Van Thuong appealed for monetary support from the State to help salt workers expand the canvas model. His division is also proposing local leaders fund half of the canvas value for farmers.

Should this proposal be approved, it will create opportunities for the sector’s development, thereby facilitating salt farmers to get rich from their occupation, Thuong added.

A recent research study conducted by Hanoi University of Science and Technology on processing black salt into excellent industrial salt created new hope for the sector as its products are adequate to serve domestic industry and exports, completely altering the volume of imported high-quality salt.

The MARD will shore up the sector by focusing on areas that have potential to turn out salt with high productivity to ensure local consumption and industrial production at home.-VNA