PANGA VILLAGE, Mon State — Occupying more than 1,000 acres of land beside a road in Thanbyuzayat Township, the salt farms of Panga reflect a shimmering white under the tropical sun in Mon State. They are among the less conventional of various types of farms scattered along Burma’s coastline, wherein the harvest is gathered from seawater.
About a two-hour drive outside the state capital Moulmein, “salt farmers” manning the evaporation ponds come into view. They only work from December to May, when there is sufficient sunlight to evaporate the accumulated seawater, leaving behind its salt.
The ponds, stretching out to the horizon, were previously manned by locals, but as much of Mon State’s indigenous population has migrated to neighboring Thailand for more lucrative work, most of the sea salt farmers in Panga these days are from the Irrawaddy Delta.
Founded in 1993 by a group of Myanmar journalists living in exile in Thailand, The Irrawaddy is a leading source of reliable news, information, and analysis on Burma/Myanmar and the Southeast Asian region. From its inception, The Irrawaddy has been an independent news media group, unaffiliated with any political party, organization or government. We believe that media must be free and independent and we strive to preserve press freedom.