In a bid to meet domestic demand in a year in which production has been minimal, Cambodia has imported 5,000 tonnes of salt from China.
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The ships carrying the product entered Phnom Penh Autonomous Port yesterday.
Salt production this year has been hampered by unfavorable weather conditions, and during harvesting season, which runs from January to April, heavy rains meant farmers had to stay home. As a result, output has been disappointing.
Bun Baraing, vice-president of the Kampot-Kep Salt Association, said the country will have to import nearly 30,000 tonnes during the next three months to meet demand after production failed to meet expectations during the last two years.
“Today’s shipment of 5,000 tonnes was the first one of several. We will keep importing until we reach 30,000 tonnes, and we will deliver the salt to the people in the Central Market in Phnom Penh,” Mr Baraing told Khmer Times yesterday.
He said they also needed to ensure they have enough salt to supply prahok producers, with prahok season beginning in upcoming weeks.
“If we don’t have salt for prahok producers, they will complain, so we need to make sure we have enough to cover their needs,” Mr Baraing said.
He said the association paid $90 per ton.
The local market currently demands between 80,000 and 100,000 tonnes of the commodity a year.
50 kilograms of salt now fetch 17,000 riel ($4.25) in the local market, according to the association.
There are 4,657 hectares of land used for harvesting the commodity in Cambodia and 200 farmers working on them. Salt is farmed mostly in the provinces of Kep and Kampot.