THE National Government has vowed to boost the local salt industry and to enable the sector to be self-sufficient, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said on Monday, August 29, 2022.In a statement, the OPS said the Department of Agriculture, under the helm of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., will spearhead initiatives to robust salt production and supply the requirements of both commercial and industry users.The DA will work with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to lead various research and development activities and provide technical assistance to marginal and artisanal salt makers.In 2021, the BFAR launched a P100-million Development of the Salt Industry Project (DSIP) under the Special Budget Request (SBR) of the Congressional-Introduced Initiative Project covering Regions 1 (Ilocos), 6 (Western Visayas) and 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula).Aside from increasing production, the project also aims to produce excellent quality of salt through enhancement and improvement of the different methods and practices on salt production, and product compliance to food safety standards.The DA is also eyeing to expand production areas, as well as the development of technologies, including evaporation systems and the use of various machineries to accelerate the production of salt.The agency will also collaborate with national agencies, including the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to identify other areas suitable for use as salt farms with the purpose of protecting such areas from environmental risks to ensure sustainability of iodized salt production.The OPS said the country has been importing 93 percent of its salt supply, “an unfortunate circumstance to a country with 36,000 kilometers of shoreline.”The low production of salt in the country was attributed to low quality control and stunted product improvement for many years.“Limited development has also been noted, including the lack of innovation and interventions, as well as low enterprise and investment opportunities that resulted to the decrease in the production of the said commodity,” the OPS said.“In addition, the sector has failed to adapt to the challenges caused b the global climate change, food safety standards and quality requirements, and tariff reduction, and meet the mandatory iodization imposed by Republic Act 8172, or the Act for Salt Iodization Nation-wide (Asin),” it added.Last week, the DTI imposed a price increase in salt’s suggested retail price to P21.75 per 500 grams of iodized rock salt and P23 per kilo.The agency set the SRP of iodized salt to P4.50 per 100-gram, while the price for a 250-gram pack ranges from P9 to P11.75; P16 to P21.25 for a 500-gram pack; and P29 per kilo.The DTI, however, said there is no shortage in supply of salt in the country. (SunStar Philippines)