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Salt makers shake out a big surplus

Cambodia’s salt production rose sharply at the end of this year’s harvest season thanks to more favourable weather conditions enhancing yields.

Salt production in Kampot and Kep provinces – home to Cambodia’s salt fields – reached 147,000 tonnes this year, nearly double the 80,000 tonnes recorded last year, according to data from the Salt Producer Community of Kampot & Kep.

Ly Seng, president of Salt Producer Community, told the Post yesterday that while last year’s harvest season finished in April, this year’s lasted until June due to less rainfall.

Cambodia’s total salt consumption is estimated at about 90,000 tonnes annually.

Seng said that the 50,000 tonne surplus that is forecast would be held over for next year’s domestic supply.

“We stock the surplus salt in storage, and it is reserved to release next year in case the production is lower,” he said, adding that Cambodia does not export salt as neighbouring countries produce enough to meet their own demand.

Salt producers in Kampot and Kep sell salt at an average of 240,000 riel ($60) per tonne. Up to 700 farmers cultivate about 4,500 hectares of salt production land within the two provinces.

Chhay Sochanny, a salt trader who sells in bulk to Phnom Penh markets, said that while the production increase was promising, difficulties re-mained in offloading excess stock, particularly as higher-quality product is being sold at lower prices by Thailand and Vietnam producers.

“Our salt cannot export,” she said. “The price of our salt is higher than others’.”

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