Stable futures for once uncertain salt producers
A law revision that changed the legal status of salt from mineral resource to food should have been a boon for bay salt producers in Korea. But for salt farmers in the Gyeong-gi province, having an opportunity and knowing how to fully capitalize on it proved to be two very different things. As the Enactus team at Seoul National University learned, most were living in poverty because they lacked the business acumen to reap the benefits this revision provided to sell their salt directly to consumers.
After visiting 14 bay salt fields in the Gyeong-gi province, the team devised an innovative plan to boost public perception and awareness of this area’s bay salt: turn the salt farm into a tourist attraction. The “Salt Field Experience Program” was implemented and promoted at various expos. Additional initiatives, such as souvenirs and an online salt market were developed to bolster tourism sales. Also the team helped to launch an exclusive bay salt brand called Yeon (nature). Finally, to advance the farmer’s business practices, intermediaries were eliminated in the distribution process. By linking the farmers directly to the processing companies and retailers, profits margins were increased.
The “Yeon Bay Salt” project has generated 2,300,000 KRW in sales and a collaboration with the Ansan city council has resulted in the farmers supplying salt to regional restaurants, which has creating another 7,000,000 KRW in income. The Ansan city council is planning to launch a Bay Salt Specialization Agency and carry on the venture as an official organization, further creating a stable future for the once uncertain salt farmers.