Daily Archives: March 5, 2009

Salt Farms in Thailand

I have driven many times from Bangkok along Highway 35 which is the road you take when going south. One of the picturesque landmarks of the stretch between Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram are the salt fields on both sides of the road. This area is the biggest producer of brine salt in Thailand. Their main season is from about October to April as salt farming works better without the heavy rains and it needs the strong sun.

Like the shrimp farms along the coastline, the salt farms can also be partly blamed for land erosion. The mangrove forests were cut down to make way for the salt farms. They have been here so long now that the salt in the earth will mean nothing will grow here any more. The farmers invite the sea water into their fields. They don’t need to be very deep. They have wind pumps to help move the water from field to field. In a hot sun it takes less than ten days for the salt water to evaporate.

They then use a kind of squeegee to push the salt residue into conical piles around the field. From this they are loaded into wheelbarrows and taken to another bigger pile near the road awaiting collection. When I drive past I don’t often see any activity going on. Either the fields are filled with water or they are dry. So when I was passing the other day and saw them “harvesting”, I had to stop and go and take a closer look.