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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia's salt output may decrease

Cambodia's salt output may decrease

121210_09
A woman works in a salt field in Kampot province in 2011. Photograph: Hector Bermejo/Phnom Penh Post

The Kep-Kamport Salt Producers Community expressed concern about the production of salt this year not reaching its forecast due to the late-starting season and the lack of labour to work in the fields.

Um Chhun, director of the administration office in Kep-Kamport Salt Producers Community, said salt production this year started late due to the prolonged rainy season.

Additionally, there is a lack of workers for the salt fields, prompting a warning from the organisation about lowered output.

“We are concerned that when the salt is full [in the fields] and there are no labourers to carry the salt and then there is rainfall, we lose,” he said.

Those workers are needed to prepare the salt farms and to collect the salt during the harvest season, he said, adding that those workers earn approximately 12,000 riel ($3) per day.

Um Chhun said the target for 2013’s salt collection was 90,000 tonnes. Last year, 92 per cent of the target was met with slightly more than 80,000 tonnes collected.

“Salt production depends on the weather, if there is no rain, we can produce a lot and to a high standard,” said Um Chhun.

The Kep and Kampot salt fields cover 4,500 hectares of land in an area close to the sea. Yields are approximately 140,000 tonnes per year in good weather conditions. However, when rain is too heavy, it leads to a decrease in output, which causes a shortage of salt in the domestic market, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

In 2008, Cambodia imported salt from China, totalling several tens of thousands of tonnes, to supply demand in the local market, but the following years saw higher production and lower market demand, previous reports from the Post said.

Salt farmer Noun Phalla, whose farm occupies 70 hectares of land, said last year production started early, but it still did not meet the target. So this year, there would be more challenges for production, he added.

“This time last year, I produced at least 100 to 200 tonnes, but this year, I’m yet to process even one crop,” he said.

“We started late and we can’t predict upcoming weather conditions.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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