August 19, 2016

Unseasonal rains will affect the price of salt

A spat of heavy unseasonal rain has caused flooding of salt fields in Mon State, potentially resulting in an increase in the price of the commodity, says Myanmar Salt Enterprise.
There has been a growth in the number of those farming salt in the region with an increase in the area of salt production, but heavy rainfall during the last week of December 2015 destroyed salt crops.
“This is the first month of the salt harvest season. As rainwater has flooded the salt fields, salt farmers aren’t in a position whereby they can harvest a full crop anymore. The salt production area of Mon State received three consecutive days of rain, so we can estimate that about 100,000 kyats worth of salt has been lost. The price of one viss (1.6kg) of salt could rise by as many as 20 kyats.” explained head of the Mon State salt enterprise department, U Khin Soe.
The area of salt harvesting increased by as much as 700 acres in the season of 2015-16 to 2,900 acres from an area approximately 2,200 acres in size during last year’s harvest.
The price of a viss of raw salt before the 2014-15 salt harvesting season fetched for just around 45-50 kyats; increasing to 70 per viss in 2014-15, before continuing to slowly rise in value, with a current price for one viss of salt going for approximately 80 kyats.
Resident salt entrepreneurs have speculated that, the price of a viss of salt could reach a price of over 100 kyats at the end of salt harvesting season dependent upon weather conditions.
“We rely on the weather for our work. Only after people have expanded their salt fields, because of good sales of salt in the last couple years, do we have this unseasonal spat of rain which will inevitably put a dent in our profits. The price of salt will probably go up because of this unusual weather.” said U Thein Win, a Mon salt farmer.
Only come the month of December does the salt harvesting season start, whereby seawater has poured onto the salt fields and left to evaporate under the sun. The sea salt that remains behind is then raked in from the first week of January up until the month of May, at which point seasonal rains set in, calling an end to the salt harvesting season.
There is plenty of area to harvest salt in Mon State, but scarcity of workers, a fall in the price of salt and other difficulties such as a lack of available loans, mean that some regions aren’t in a position whereby they can exploit this natural commodity.
It is known that the main salt producing regions of Mon State are Bilin, Paung, Thanbyuzayat and Yay townships.
It is anticipated that over a quarter million tonnes of salt will be produced during the 2015-16 salt harvesting season in Mon State, with the population of the State consuming around 7,300 tonnes of the commodity, leaving plenty surplus salt to be transported to neighbouring regions of Kayin State and Tanintharyi Region, as well as the upper reaches of the country.—Myitmakha News Agency


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