Importing salt a sin says Imee

Senator Imee Marcos on Monday expressed her dismay over an alleged shortage of salt which has led to higher prices of dried fish like ‘tuyo’ and ‘daing’ and fish paste or ‘bagoong’ that are part of the ordinary Filipinos’ diet.

In a statement, Imee questioned the need to import salt adding that salt is easy to produce, citing that the country as an archipelago is surrounded by saltwater.

She stressed that it was ironic for the country that has the fifth longest coastline in the world which measures some 36,000 kilometers to import salt from China and Australia.

Due to an alleged shortage of salt, the price of salinas ‘tuyo’ has increased from P200 to P280 per kilogram in wet markets in Tondo, Manila, and Balintawak, Quezon City, according to the eldest sister of President Bongbong Marcos, who is the concurrent head of the Department of Agriculture.

Imee noted that more than 90 percent of the country’s salt requirements in the past three decades have been imported, with little done to develop the local salt industry.

The former Ilocos Norte governor also said that the Ilocos Region, particularly Pangasinan and La Union, are among the country’s major salt producers but have not been given ample support by past administrations.

Local salt producers are still in need of new technology and proper machinery that the Republic Act No. 8172 or the Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide also known as the ASIN law, was supposed to have promoted when it took effect in December 1995.

“We’ve taken salt for granted despite its many uses not only in cooking but also in health and agriculture. Salt is used in manufacturing medicines, food preservatives, animal feed, and fertilizer,” Imee said.

The lady senator recommended additional funding for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources under the Department of Agriculture to ramp up knowledge transfer, research, training, and technical assistance in the use of modern salt production technology.

“I will certainly take up measures for ample production of salt, besides rice and sugar, with PBBM,” she said.

Before this, the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. disclosed that the country is currently importing 93 percent of its salt requirements of 550,000 metric tons from China and Australia.

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