After sugar, there’s also salt shortage

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva has filed a resolution intending to investigate why the Philippines, an archipelagic country, cannot produce salt for its own needs.

The senator was alarmed over Senior Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban’s recent statement that the Philippines cannot even produce enough salt for its own needs despite being surrounded by salt water because of government neglect over the past 15 years.

“This is quite shameful for an archipelagic country with more than 36,000 kilometers of shoreline. Let’s not waste further the potential to provide jobs for Filipinos on every island in the country by reviving the salt production industry,” Villanueva said.

Senate Resolution 100 would aim to know how the country can revive salt production to generate employment and spur economic growth.

Villanueva cited that the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. recently said that the country currently imports 93 percent of its salt from Australia and China.

He noted that this starkly contrasted with 1990 when the country only imported 15 percent of its salt requirements.

“I am quite salty about the state of our salt production industry. It’s not too late for the country to become a net exporter of salt,” the senator stressed.

Villanueva expressed the need for the government to act swiftly to address the major hurdles to developing the country’s salt production industry.

These include the need for proper storage facilities and a lack of equipment such as water pumps and boats for hauling and storing salt.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s announcement earlier to develop a roadmap for the salt industry gained the senator’s support as it would introduce new strategies and generate up to 100,000 new jobs, according to the agency.

“Reviving the country’s salt production industry can help solve unemployment, improve self-reliance for this basic commodity, and bring in money for the country through exports. It’s a triple win for the country,” Villanueva said.

The Daily Tribune has already reached out to the DA regarding the salt probe, but it has yet to respond.

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