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Salt harvest below forecast

8 salt biz pha lina

The Kep-Kampot Salt Producers Community says salt production fell nearly 50 per cent below forecasts because of early rainfall, which is assumed to end salt harvesting for the year. Prime Minister Hun Sen, however, has stepped in to ensure the price remains stable.

Um Chhun, director of the administration office of the Kep-Kampot Salt Producers Community, said salt output reached only 41,000 tonnes this year, compared with an expected 80,000 tonnes, similar to the total produced
in 2012.

Last week’s heavy rainfall probably marked the end of the year’s salt production, Chhun said.

“It damaged everything at once. Rainwater is over the dams and water in the fields is knee-high,” he said.

“They can restore the field if there is no rain for one month. But if the rain comes gradually, we cannot produce any salt and the season will be over.”

Hun Sen yesterday noted the dilemma concerning salt production and hydro-electric dams – when the dry season lasts a long time, salt production will be good, but dams will lack water to produce power.

Speaking at the inaugur-ation of the Kampot Provincial Hall, the premier assured listeners that Cambodia would not lack salt because it had stockpiles.

“I appeal to sellers not to increase the price; there is a lot of salt in stock, so the salt market will not be able to raise prices high,” he said.

Kep-Kampot community’s salt producing fields cover about 4,500 hectares close to the sea.

Yields are approximately 140,000 tonnes a year in good weather conditions.

Too much heavy rain can reduce output, causing a shortage of salt in the dom-estic market, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

In 2008, Cambodia impor-ted tens of thousands of tonnes of salt from China to supply the local market, but in the succeeding years, production has exceeded the market’s demand, according to  the Post.

Um Chhun said that, based on the salt market, the price of salt would not rise because neighbouring countries would export salt to the Kingdom if prices rose too much.

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