CAMBODIA harvested about 150,000 tonnes of salt during the November 2009 to April 2010 season, exceeding production goals by almost 67 percent, the president of the Cambodian Salt Producers Association (CSPA), Ly Seng, said this week, and government officials said they hope that high yields continue for another two to three years.
The bumper crop is hoped to offset a dismal 2009, when wet weather caused salt producers in Kampot and Kep to collect only 30 percent of the expected 100,000 tonnes and forced the government to allow them to import some 60,000 tonnes from China in order to meet demand, he said.
“We hope that this year the association will be able to meet its local demand without importing more salt from other countries,” Ly Seng said. He added that the CSPA also aims to save some salt reserves for 2011.
“We are no longer concerned about the problems of a salt shortage in the coming years, because the salt we have produced this year has exceeded demand already,” he said.
According to a CSPA report, Cambodia needs between 100,000 to 120,000 tonnes of salt to satisfy domestic consumption this year.
Som Vichet, director of Kampot province’s Department of Industry, Mines and Energy, said Monday that salt yields in Cambodia may remain high in coming years because more hot weather is expected. “At present, whether our salt product is high or low depends on nature and not on our
production plan,” Som Vichet said.
In 2006, because of favourable hot and dry weather, Cambodia was able to produce a staggering 220,000 tonnes of salt, according to figures.
Ly Seng said that, according to his experience in the salt industry, yields are cyclical, and remain high for two or three years in a row before decreasing again.
“We hope that salt yields will be still high next year,” he said.
In February this year, the association reported that flooding had resulted in the loss of 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of salt, worth about US$70,000.
Cambodia has approximately 5,000 salt producers working around 4,400 hectares of land.