After Floods, Imports Batter Local Salt Works

Fierce competition from imported salt is forcing Cambodian producers to keep their prices low in order to compete, an expert in the industry said yesterday.

Bun Baraing, co-president of the Salt Producing Community in Kep and Kampot provinces, said a sack of salt equal to 50 kilograms currently stands at 21,000 riel, or about $5.25, for the highest quality grain, a price that has remained stable since around September when severe flooding hit Cambodia’s southern provinces.

“We cannot increase the price of salt. If we try to increase it, we will have a problem with neighboring countries importing salt to sell at a low price in Cambodia,” said Mr Baraing. “We resort to selling at a price lower than they do in order to curb their flow.”

Mr Braing said that dry weather was key to quality salt production.

But in September, heavy flooding severely affected Cambodia’s salt farmers as almost 1,500 hectares of salt fields were destroyed, he said.

The lack of salt production in September caused farming communities in Kep and Kampot provinces to ask the government to import 60,000 tons of salt from China for domestic use. (Only 30,000 tons ever arrived as the rain stopped.)

The salt from China sold at 24,000 riel per 50 kilograms, he said.

“I don’t want to see other countries bringing salt to Cambodia,” he said. “They come to reduce the price, spoiling the [domestic] Cambodian salt market.”

Currently Cambodia has about 10,000 tons of salt available for domestic demand, said Mr Baraing.

 

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