Vietnam's salt production has jumped by 16.4 percent this year to 1.18 million tonnes, reported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Favourable weather and an increase in the area devoted to salt production are the reasons for the increase, according to the ministry's Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production.

The area has gone up by 625ha this year to 14,814ha.

But farmers are faced with low salt prices.

Le Canh Nhan of Diem Van village, Tuy Phuoc district, the central province of Binh Dinh, said, "This year there was a lot of sunshine, and my 11.3ha salt field yielded more than 2,000 tonnes, two times that of last year."

But prices have declined dramatically, he said.

In November Nhan sold his salt for 800-900 VND a kilogramme compared with 1,450 VND a year earlier.

The Central Salt and Trading Joint Stock Company blamed this on not only on the bumper harvest but also low quality.

Most of the salt is bought by traders, who routinely push prices down during harvest season.

The salt production season has finished Binh Dinh with an output of around 30,000 tonnes, 80 percent more than last year, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

But of its 214ha of salt fields, only 13.6ha used canvas sheets on fields to produce cleaner salt while the rest used traditional methods.

The department has petitioned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to adopt policies to buy salt to stabilise prices and providing farmers soft loans to buy canvas sheets to produce cleaner salt.-VNA