A new decision by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade allowing local companies to import 170,000 tons of salt would hurt local farmers, an agricultural official said.
Local salt prices are currently low, hovering just around VND1,000 per kilogram, and importing salt now could throw many farmers out of job, said Doan Xuan Hoa, deputy director of Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Products Processing and Salt Industry.
Salt prices on the global market have fallen to US$30-40 per ton and importers can set their prices at as low as VND800 per kilogram, the department estimates.
Hoa said he could not understand why the Ministry of Industry and Trade allowed salt imports right now because local production was still able to meet the countryââ‚¬â„¢s demand.
ââ‚¬Å“Importing salt at the wrong time will discourage local farmers, forcing them to quit their vocation,ââ‚¬ he warned.
Vietnam has around 70,000 salt farmers who have monthly incomes of just VND100,000 ($5.4).
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has said it plans to allow imports of 260,000 tons of salt this year. Vietnamââ‚¬â„¢s salt output fell 5 percent to around 800,000 tons in 2009.