Salt prices soar, supply dwindles

Saturday, Jun 10, 2017 09:34

Sea salt harvested in Bac Lieu Province. — VNA Photo Huynh Su

Domestic salt prices have been on the rise since the beginning of March, and many salt farmers have expressed their dissatisfaction after running out of salt during the price hike.

In southern Bac Lieu Province, the current buying price for salt has increased by 100 per cent from the beginning of this year’s salt harvest. In particular, black salt is selling at VND700 to VND900 (US$0.03 to $0.04) per kilogramme and regular salt at VND1,200 to VND1,300 per kilogramme, as compared to the VND500 to VND600 and VND250 to VND500 at the same time last year, respectively.

Nguyen Hoang Thua, deputy chairman of the Doanh Dien Hamlet Salt Co-operative in Bac Lieu Province, reported that salt inventories at the co-operative and many other farms had been cleared. He also stated that despite the high demand and price, farmers were still not making much profit due to low productivity.

According to Vo Hoang Nghiep, a salt farmer from Dong Hai District, Bac Lieu Province, the initial low price at the harvest’s beginning was too unappealing for farmers to produce a larger amount.

Another reason for decreased salt supply this year is the large amount of residual inventory from last harvest, which caused salt farmers to convert their salt farms to aquacultural farms, said Duong Chi Thanh, Deputy Head of Division at Bac Lieu provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Unfavourable weather conditions, such as a prolonged rainy season, further decreased supply by shortening harvesting time and limiting the coastal areas reserved for sea salt farming by 50 per cent compared to last year.

On estimate in Bac Lieu Province alone, the 2016 to 2017 salt harvest spanned only 1,700 hectares instead of the usual 2,300 hectares. Output is down by 30 per cent from the 2015 to 2016 harvest, currently at more than 165,00 tonnes. — VNS

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