Cambodia may face a salt shortage again this year, as harvests yielded little more than 30 per cent of the total local demand, Salt Producers Community of Kampot-Kep (SPCKK) technical chief Bun Narin said.
Cambodian salt production is only available in Kampot and Kep provinces, and harvest season begins in mid-January and ends in April each year.
Bun Narin said this year’s harvest season yielded a little more than 30,000 tonnes.
The two provinces have over 4,000ha of salt fields with each hectare producing an average of 20 tonnes per year. Narin said the average salt demand in the Kingdom is between 80,000 and 100,000 tonnes per year.
However, he said weather conditions and labour shortages have been detrimental to salt production in Kampot and Kep provinces.
“Because of last week’s heavy rains, I thought production was over,” he said.
However, he said the El Nino phenomenon will prolong the dry season and that salt collection may continue up to the end of May.
More than 60 per cent of the harvest’s salt output has been sold in the market, according to Narin.
Regarding the workforce involved in the salt production, Narin said among the more than 200 salt production groups in Kampot and Kep provinces in the last three to four years, there had been a workforce of between 4,000 and 5,000. There are currently a little more than 1,000 workers.
Despite a poor salt harvest this year, prices have not changed dramatically.
The salt price at the fields is valued at 18,000 riel ($4.44) per 50kg, a slight increase compared to last year, said Narin.
Cambodia produced more than 100,000 tonnes in each of 2014, 2015 and 2016, according to SPCKK figures.
Last year, the Kingdom imported more than 20,000 tonnes of salt from China. This was the second time the Kingdom had imported salt from the country after having spent $2.2 million in 2009 to import the same amount.