Cambodia imported about 5,000 tonnes of salt from India amid a shortage of stock, Salt Producers Community of Kampot-Kep (SPCKK) co-president Bun Baraing said on Sunday.
This is the first time that the Kingdom has imported salt from India.
Industry insiders said unfavourable weather conditions are the main cause of declines in local salt production over the last three years.
Baraing told The Post on Sunday that only 500-600 tonnes remain in the Kingdom’s salt stockpiles, adding that Cambodia had decided to import from India instead of China because floods in the latter had devastated the country’s salt production, which led to higher prices.
“Salt imported from India is of good quality, at a reasonable price and does not affect local producers,” he said, adding that imported salt from India currently costs around $95 per tonne – similar to domestic salt.
He said the Kingdom will cease imports from India as soon as local production is stable. “I don’t claim to know how much salt will be imported this year. Salt farmers are working gradually [to reach stable production].”
SPCKK technical chief Bun Narin said salt farmers in Kampot and Kep provinces have been preparing their fields since mid-October, but currently no salt has been harvested. “Generally, the harvest will start from the beginning of January.”
Narin said the salt produced by the community costs around $90 per tonne.
SPCKK production data shows that 33,000 tonnes of salt were produced in the two provinces in 2017.
Over the last three years, salt production in the provinces has averaged more than 30,000 tonnes per year, with total domestic consumption between 80,000 and 100,000 tonnes per year.
The Kingdom’s total area under salt production is more than 4,500ha, exclusively in Kampot and Kep provinces. One hectare of salt fields can produce about 20 tonnes of salt annually, data showed. Salt production season falls between January and May each year.
Last year, Cambodia planned to import 30,000 tonnes of salt from China but imported just over 10,000 tonnes. This was the second time the Kingdom imported the commodity from China after it purchased 20,000 tonnes at $2.2 million in 2009.