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The Government has been asked to buy 200,000 tonnes of salt to help salt producers cope with the falling price.

The Vietnam Northern Food Company (Vinafood) will buy the salt from the farmers, ensuring that farmers receive profits of 30-40 percent, according to the director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Department of Agro-forestry and Fisheries Product Processing and Trade and Salt Industry, Le Xuan.

A survey from Vinafood reports that salt prices have dropped by 33 percent since last year.

Salt is currently priced at 600-800 VND (0.03-0.04 USD)per kg in the northern region of the country and 400-500 VND per kg in central Vietnam .

This year's lengthy hot season, which brought in a bumper crop for farmers, along with an increase in salt imports has caused prices to fall.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in southern Bac Lieu province reported that salt production in the province set a record for production this year, with an output of more than 200,000 tonnes.

However, only 30 percent of the province's salt has been sold because farmers are waiting for prices to rise, said Tran Thanh Son from the department's rural development office.

"While waiting for prices to increase, farmers are having a difficult time protecting their products from the rain and humidity," he said.

Salt produced by local farmers is often used to process and store seafood and make fish sauce.

Between 500,000-600,000 tonnes of salt have been imported into Vietnam , which is equal to 70 percent of the country's annual salt output.

According to experts, most facilities prefer imported salt because of its cleanliness and whiteness.

Xuan explained that the ministry allows salt to be imported because the country's needs 1.3 million tonnes of salt a year, but Vietnam only produces between one and 1.1 million tonnes a year.

"Apart from buying salt for farmers, the ministry will also suggest implementing other policies including providing salt makers with industrial technology for production," he said./.
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