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Salt yields up in 2020, may prevent shortage

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Cambodia produced more than 84,000 tonnes of salt in 2020. Hin Pisei

Salt yields up in 2020, may prevent shortage

More than 84,000 tonnes were collected in Cambodian salt marshes during the 2020 harvest, raising hopes that the Kingdom will be able to avoid a repeat of the shortage in 2019, according to a senior Kampot provincial official.

Department of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation director Sok Kim Choeun said favourable climatic factors prolonged the harvest to August in Kampot and Kep provinces – where most domestic salt is produced, which would span from January to May most years.

“Last year, we sold practically all of the salt, only about 10,000 tonnes remain in stock,” Kim Choeun said.

He said salt last year cost between 8,000 and 12,000 riel ($2 and $3) per 50kg sack. “We won’t face a shortage of salt and will be able to provide enough for domestic demand,” he said.

Thaung Thyda, managing director of Kampot-Kep salt processing firm Thaung Trading Co Ltd, told The Post that her company supplies local markets and exports to, inter alia, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, the UK and the Czech Republic.

She said: “In the three years we’ve been turning out our enterprise’s products, we’ve received firm backing from our people and the international community.”

Thaung Trading has penned buy-sell agreements with 27 local producers to secure 20,000 tonnes of salt per annum.

She said: “We are working on exporting to the French market and negotiating with other countries.”

In 2014-2016, Cambodia harvested more than 100,000 tonnes of salt each year, before tumbling for three consecutive years in 2017-2019.

The government authorised the salt-processing community to import 30,000 tonnes of the commodity in 2019 citing a paucity of salt, according to the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation.

But according to Kim Choeun, the Cambodia has imported just around 10,000 tonnes of the allotted amount, as optimism in early 2020 surrounding the year’s salt output ground the purchases to a halt.

The ministerial report said salt production in Kampot and Kep covered 4,748ha last year and employed 5,000 workers. With suitable weather conditions, each hectare can yield 20 tonnes of salt per annum, it said.

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