JAKARTA - The Chief of Staff Moeldoko has demanded more comprehensive training to be conducted for salt farmers in regions to further enhance the optimal production of local salt and to reduce the country’s dependency on imports.
“I sincerely wished that training for local salt farmers can be included into the Commodity Balance bill, as we currently know that our salt product is not considered good,” Moeldoko said during a virtual meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday (7/7), discussing the salt import regulation with related ministerial offices.
According to Moeldoko, some local farmers harvest their salt earlier than expected due to economic difficulties. In fact, early salt harvesting will result in the product’s bad quality.
Thus, Moeldoko demanded the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to start reviewing the training and education program for local salt farmers, suggesting the ministry to boost and widen the scope of the training’s targets.
In addition, the Chief of Staff also stressed the importance of having a washing plant for each manufacturer using salt as their materials. Salt washing plant is a mechanical refining system that is used to break the big salt granules and to wash out the impurities from the surface of the granules.
The technology is proven to be able to increase the salt quality for industry. Thus, the refinery machine is expected to boost the local salt production and increase its price to further widen its access to the market.
“The control towards salt imports will be very much helpful in providing assurance to our salt farmers. Thus, it is necessary to be discussed and calculated beforehand,” he added.
Previously, President Joko Widodo decided to allow the food industries and other manufacturers using salt as its essential raw material to directly import salt from other countries based on the recommendation issued by the Industry Ministry.
With domestic demand approximately at 4.6 million tons per year, the national production of salt which is only at 1,5 million tons per year is obviously not enough to meet the demands.
According to data by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fishery, the industrial buyers alone require 3,6 million tons per year.
By then, the government issued the import permission exclusively for the end users such as glass manufacturers which use salt as their essential raw materials. If the manufacturers were caught selling the imported salts to the market, causing the drop of its price, the government will suspend its import permission.
In the meantime, the local salt product will be mainly marketed to domestic households. Nevertheless, the government ambitiously aimed for 1,5 million tons consumption of local salt products by 2021.
The government enacted the Job Creation Law No. 11/2020 late last year in which two regulations on industry and trade allow the government to intervene in companies' decisions to access imported inputs (raw materials and intermediate goods) and to export.
The government would further deliberate the Salt and Sugar Commodity Bill to regulate the import and export in accordance with the Commodity Balance policy.
In the meantime, the government ensures that the training programs will soon be conducted comprehensively..