Agri Usec says it will take up to 2 years to stabilize salt industry

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2022 09:39 PM

A worker harvests salt from a saltern in Barangay Sta. Isabel in Kawit, Cavite amid the summer heat on May 22, 2021. Traditionally, during the wet season the salterns are used as fish pens but climate change has compromised salt production due to unpredictable weather caused by global warming. ABS-CBN News
A worker harvests salt from a saltern in Barangay Sta. Isabel in Kawit, Cavite amid the summer heat on May 22, 2021. Traditionally, during the wet season the salterns are used as fish pens but climate change has compromised salt production due to unpredictable weather caused by global warming. ABS-CBN News

MANILA — It will take up to two years for the government to stabilize the country’s salt industry with the implementation of planned interventions, Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said Wednesday.

The Marcos administration earlier announced that it is rushing to revitalize the salt industry and boost its production, following reports of rising prices due to low supply. 

This includes the allocation of up to P100 million to help the industry. 

“Sa tantya ko aabutin natin ng isa o dalawang taon bago natin ma-stabilize. Kung makukuha ang P100 million ng BFAR, sisimulan agad natin ngayong second half ng 2022 ang pagdidistribute ng pera sa ating mga fisherfolks na nagpo-produce ng asin nang sa ganon mapalawak ang area ng asin,” Panganiban said.

“Ngayon kung mapalaki ang area, liliit ang importasyon. Ganon lang naman ang case nyan eh,” he continued.

In a statement, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz Angeles said the revitalization of the salt industry is part of the agriculture agenda of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

“Kinakailangan ng sapat na pondo para rito kaya naman nais ng Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatics Resources (DA-BFAR) magkaroon ng P100 milyon na pondo para sa mga programang nakalatag para sa modernisasyon ng salt industry,” Angeles said in a Facebook post.

“Naniniwala ang DA-BFAR na ang mga programa ay makagagawa ng mas maraming trabaho para sa ating mga kababayan at makatutulong sa mga mag-aasin lalo na sa aspeto ng food safety, quality assurance, at iba pa.” 

Cruz-Angeles said among the plans that the administration will undertake are the following:

  • Expanding salt production areas and pushing for the development of technologies to accelerate salt production
  • Implementation of programs and initiatives for boosting salt production and supply
  • Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) leadership in various research and development initiatives on salt production and assist marginal and artisanal salt makers
  • Realization of the Development of the Salt Industry Project (DPSIP) for salt makers in Regions 1,6, and 9
  • DA's coordination with the environment, science, and trade departments to fully develop the local salt industry under Republic Act 8172 or the Act for Salt Iodization nationwide. 

Several salt brands increased prices in January and May based on DTI's suggested retail price. The agency said manufacturers last increased prices half a decade ago, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said
 
Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. president Danilo Fausto earlier urged lawmakers to amend Republic Act 8172 or An Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide to reinvigorate the country's salt production industry.