Salt-harvesting helps make ends meet in southern Iraq

[Location: Diwaniyah, Iraq]

Natural salt harvesting is a seasonal activity in southern Iraq

that some rely upon to make a living

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SALT HUNTER, ABU ALI, SAYING: "It's been 20 years that I work in this. I have to feed 15 people. And I don't have any other source of income. So I am forced to work in this, there is no other source of livelihood."

They sell their harvest to local traders daily

The going rate is about $0.34 for every 66 pounds of salt

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TRADER, ABU MOHAMMED, SAYING: "There is brown salt and white salt. There is finely-ground salt and there is salt for leather and pickles."

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SALT HUNTER, UMM MOHAMMED, SAYING: "My job is to harvest salt and to provide for my children. And I am a farmer at other people's farms. Thank God for the salt, it is a blessing from God."