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Rain fails to dampen salt outlook

Rain fails to dampen salt outlook

SALT damaged by recent bad weather will not impact the Kingdom’s overall production in 2010 following last year’s shortage, the Salt Producer Association’s president told the Post.

Four days of rain last week is estimated to have damaged around 3,000 tonnes of salt, Ly Seng said Friday. However, the industry does not expect a repeat of last year’s weather crisis – which saw rain damage harvests so badly that Cambodia imported salt from China for the first time.

Hot, dry weather is required to produce salt through the evaporation of seawater from salt fields.

But Ly Seng thinks that despite the spate of unseasonal downpours, Cambodia’s forecasted production will be between 90,000 and 120,000 tonnes this year.

Last year’s rains meant that only 30,000 tonnes of salt were harvested from November 2008 to May 2009, so Cambodia had to import 30,000 tonnes more from China with much more pouring over the border illegally.

“We don’t think that we have the same problem as last year, as we have not harvested a lot of salt yet,” added Ly Seng, who explained that the salt harvest season runs until April.

Director of the Department of Industry, Mines and Energy in Kampot, Chhun Hin, added that although the rain had affected producers in his province, the weather had since improved.

Cambodia has over 4,400 hectares, concentrated in the southern provinces of Kampot and Kep, designated to produce salt. Around 5,000 people work in the industry. Ly Seng said that local salt sells at $70 per tonne, while imported salt from China sells at $120 per tonne.

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