Salt Farming in Tamil Nadu, India

Welcome to my latest photoblog post on “Salt Farming“, a livelihood over many of 100s of years, maybe 1000s.  Hope you enjoy these images and the story behind the scenes.

Please “Follow” along as the journey continues down roads yet untraveled.

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From the little information I gathered, here’s a short explanation behind the scenes of Salt Farming in Tamil Nadu.

  • The sea flows inland where the salt waters are pumped into a very large (acres) holding area raising the water temperatures for a salt brine formation over 25 days .
  • This brine water flows into small paddies for the salt to crystallize over three days with various valves and channels.
  • At this point, the men who work from 7:00am-1:30pm rake the salt crystals from the bottom of the water and onto the edge where it drains for a day.
  • The women (who do the heavily lifting everywhere in India) lift and carry the salt in a woven basket weighing 25-30 kgs creating the large piles of unrefined, coarse salt.  Back and forth they go, from 7:00am to 10:00am Mon-Sat.
  • The salt is later bagged (~80-100kg bags) and loaded on a lorry (truck).
  • A state government sales agent purchases the salt at Rs100-200 ($1.50-$3.00 USD) per bag.
  • The land is leased from the state for the farmer’s use all-year long with the hotter months (Apr-Oct) being most productive.

Salt PaddiesDaShanSheYing-1532DaShanSheYing-1533

Salt RakingDaShanSheYing-1535Yes slanted down to the left, can’t you feel his lean.DaShanSheYing-1529

Salt HaulingDaShanSheYing-1531

Salt PileDaShanSheYing-1528DaShanSheYing-1530