The Salt Association of Kampot and Kep will be dissolved at the end of this month after 30 percent of its members said they are leaving the organisation.
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The association has already submitted a letter of dissolution to local authorities.
Bun Baraing, co-executive director of the Salt Association of Kampot and Kep, told Khmer Times the decision to terminate the association was made after at least 30 percent of the members said they wanted out.
“They want to leave the association so they can run their businesses without involvement from the association. With 30 percent of our members gone, we cannot exist as an association.”
Mr Baraing said members wanted to leave the association because they believe non-members have higher profits.
“They decided to leave the association after they saw that some businessmen that are not part of the association were making more money than them.
“They can do as they please,” he said, adding that, “At the association, we treat everyone fairly and equally and always have the interest of all members at heart.”
He said that on the 25 of this month government officials at the national and provincial levels will meet to discuss the problem and find ways of discouraging the members from leaving the association.
“This association is 15 years old already. We don’t want to see it dissolve. We hope the government and local authorities can help us solve this problem,” Mr Baraing said.
There are 200 families producing salt in 4,800 hectares on land in Kampot and Kep, according to Mr Baraing.
Salt production started in September and farmers started collecting at the end of December. According to Mr Baraing, there are no official figures regarding total output because disgruntled members refused to share their data.
A sack of salt (around 50 kilograms) now sells for $2.5 to $3, Mr Baraing said. Last year, the commodity fetched $4.25 in the local market.
“Once they leave the association, we can’t control how much they are charging for their salt. The reason the price of salt went down this year is because as they leave the association we can no longer tell them at what price they can sell.”
The local market currently demands between 80,000 and 100,000 tonnes of salt a year, Mr Baraing added.
Last year, salt production was hampered by unfavorable weather conditions. During harvesting season, which runs from January to April, heavy rains kept farmers away from the field, resulting in a disappointing output.