Gujarat is India's highest salt-producing state, and accounts for 85% of the country’s total production. The manufacturers include both companies as well as individual farmers, known as Agariyas, who make salt on tracts of land that are less than 10 acres.
In recent years, however, both kinds of producers have been reeling from the impact of excessive and unseasonal rains in the region, as well as furious cyclonic storms. Among other effects, these climatic shifts have damaged solar panels and other equipment, washed away salt before it is ready for harvest and caused freshwater to overflow into saltpans, disrupting the year’s manufacturing cycle.
Vaishnavi Rathore travelled to the Little Rann of Kutch to speak to salt-farmers, and learn how they are struggling for their livelihoods in the face of these massive climatic changes.
“An industry that manufactures a product of such everyday use is facing the beginning of climate impacts,” Rathore said. “I kept thinking how much worse the situation could get ten years down the line, what future the small-scale salt makers would have, and where the salt on our plate will come from.”
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