CAMBODIA imported 10,000 tonnes of salt from China last week to offset a domestic production shortfall, a local industry representative said Sunday.
Ly Seng, director of the Kampot-Kep Salt Production Association, said last year's production was washed out by heavy rains in Kampot, the Kingdom's main salt-producing area.
A first batch of 10,000 tonnes came from China's Guangdong province last week, he added.
"We imported 10,000 tonnes to meet current demand, but we plan to import a total of 60,000 tonnes," said Ly Seng. "Last season we were able to produce just 30,000 tonnes."
Ly Seng said annual demand is up to 120,000 tonnes which peaks in the December-to -arch prahok season when the Kingdom's famous fish paste - which requires huge amounts of salt - is made.
"Importing salt costs around US$100 per tonne, so this will cost $6 million," he said. "Financially we couldn't afford to import the entire requirement in one go, but we have the money to do so with 10,000 tonnes monthly."
Chhun Hinn, director of Kampot's Department of Industry, Mines and Energy, said he worked with the Kampot association on solving the salt shortage because it is the key salt-producing area in Cambodia.
Ly Seng said the country's fast-growing population means demand for salt is rising. His association manages 4,447 hectares of salt flats in Kampot and neighbouring Kep province, but he said that figure will likely rise by 200 hectares this season.
"So I am hopeful that next season our salt yields will improve," he said.