Maksum Nur Fauzan
The dry season this year has brought blessings to Siem, a 67-year-old villager of Bleduk Kuwu, Grobogan regency, Central Java. Siem usually harvests salt during the dry season and can collect up to 50 kilograms of salt in five days. The salt is sold at Rp 10,000 (US$6.57) per kilogram. Her customers are usually from Central and East Java.
There used to be hundreds of salt farms in Bleduk Kuwu, which has become a tourist destination, but only Siem’s farm has survived. She and her family still run the salt production business, which has been a part of her life since childhood.
Unlike other coastal areas that crystallize salt from seawater, salt production in Bleduk Kuwu uses natural mud that is later poured in into evaporation pipes made of bamboo. The mud is dried under the scorching sun. During the dry season, it takes five days to harvest the salt, while during the rainy season it takes between 10 and 14 days.
Siem hopes that the family business can survive and pass on to her the next generation as gratitude for the natural phenomenon of Bleduk Kuwu. [yan]