COVID brings Pangasinan town’s salt industry to a standstill | Inquirer News

COVID brings Pangasinan town’s salt industry to a standstill

/ 04:20 AM September 28, 2020

TOO MUCH SALT Farming salt is a major endeavor in Dasol town, Pangasinan province, but without buyers since the coronavirus pandemic struck in March, warehouses in the town remain full of sacks of high-grade rock salt. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan, Philippines — Warehouses storing salt harvested in the town of Dasol in Pangasinan province would have been empty by this time of the year.

But since March, when the community quarantine was imposed by the government to control the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the sprawling salt industry there had to hit the “pause” button.


Companies that heavily rely on soy sauce, “patis” (fish sauce), “bagoong” (fish paste) and other salt-based products have cut their production since March, said Mayor Noel Nacar.


“Our warehouses are still full with salt harvested last summer and we will produce some more two months from now,” Nacar, who engages in the salt-making business, told the Inquirer.

Salt farmers usually start preparing their “banigan” (salt beds) before the rainy season in October in time for harvest from December to May.

Dasol produces clean and high-quality solar, or rock salt, called “barara,” for industrial use, as well as fine salt, which is cooked in big pots to remove impurities for household use.

Top producer

At least eight of the town’s 18 villages produce 18,000 metric tons of salt every year, making it the province’s top salt producer. These are Bobonot, Hermosa, Amalbalan, Gais-Guipe, Poblacion, Magsaysay, Malacapas and Uli, which are all located along the Dasol Bay.

If combined with the salt produced in the towns of Bolinao and Bani, and in Alaminos City, Pangasinan could produce an average of 74,765 MT annually, which is among the highest salt productions by a province in the country.

Nacar said most salt farm and warehouse owners like him were still hoping to get buyers of their stock until December.


“We believe that the slump in our sales is only temporary. Salt farm workers, on the other hand, are not losing their jobs,” he said.

Salt farms are turned into fishponds during the rainy months, allowing operators to pay their workers. —

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