The government allocates more funds to programs to revive the salt industry

The government has allocated another 100 million pesos to a program aimed at reviving the Philippine salt industry.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said that Oplan Asin activities will continue this year. The program now involves 7 BFAR Regional Fisheries Offices (RFOs) instead of the previous 3.

The agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that the program includes RFOs in regions 3, 4A, 4B and 7.

“Through Oplan Asin, we will prioritize intervening in our existing salt producers and revive the dormant ones by helping them meet market demands,” said BFAR Director Demosthenes Escoto during the launch of the salt industry development project in Dasol, Pangasinan.

BFAR and the National Fisheries Research Institute (NFRDI) launched Oplan Asin last year. It aims to increase the local production of excellent quality salt by improving the processes and methods of salt production, while balancing the requirements of food safety standards and industrial use.

With funding of 100 million pesos in the first year of implementation, various activities related to production, research and development were implemented in selected major salt producing regions through BFAR-RFO 1, 6 and 9.

The agency stated that it has already provided farm fishing equipment and post-harvest facilities, upgraded storage and storage facilities, organized training and capacity building workshops, and technology demonstrations to participating regions.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee, said: “Salt production is very economical and sustainable if it is allowed to grow.”

The Philippines produced salt in huge quantities until the 1990s. Citing a report published by Pacific Farms Inc., the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region 4-B reported that provinces such as Bulacan, Pangasinan, Western Mindoro, and Cavite supplied almost 85 percent of the country’s salt needs in 1990.

According to DOST, the local salt industry is doomed to change seasonally due to climate change and producers’ dependence on age-old production methods. As the problems became insurmountable and made salt farming less attractive, large producers were forced to close their farms or convert their acres into other profitable ventures such as fish ponds, residential or commercial real estate.

The Philippines, which has the fifth largest coastline in the world, imports about 80% of the salt it consumes from countries like Australia and China.

Image credits: BusinessMirror / Noni Reyes