Scorching heat good for salt makers, dried fish traders
DAGUPAN CITY — While it has been causing discomfort to many, the intense heat being felt in Pangasinan province in the last few days has been benefiting salt farmers and dried fish makers.
Virginia Zamora, 67, a dried fish trader in Barangay Pantal here, said the searing heat from the sun has enabled her to dry more fish since last week.
On Tuesday, the city’s temperature of 36.7 degrees Celsius and 62-percent relative humidity produced a heat index of 51.7 degrees, the highest so far recorded in the country this month.
The weather station said higher temperatures could still be experienced in the province until the end of summer in the first week of June.
Zamora said on normal days, it took them five days to dry the fish completely. “Now, it’s only three days,” she said.
In Dasol town, salt farmers have doubled their harvest this month, according to Vice Mayor Rizaldy Bernal.
This is because water now evaporates faster from the salt beds, Bernal said.
He said farmers normally harvest only one-and-a-half baskets of salt daily. But with the intense heat this month, they now harvest three baskets before sunset.
Salt is produced in the town using water from the West Philippine Sea. The seawater is stored in an impounding pond and released to flood the tiled shallow salt beds in the farm.
Through the heat, the salty water is left to evaporate, leaving behind salt crystals, which are raked, harvested and stored in warehouses for processing.
Most residents in 11 of Dasol’s 18 villages are engaged in salt-making as their major source of livelihood.
In 2016, the town produced about 18,000 metric tons of salt from its more than 10,000 “banigan” (salt beds), according to the town’s agriculture office.
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