New salt policy aims to encourage environmentally friendly production

Raw salt purchased from coastal producers in Cox’s Bazar for Tk 8.66 per kilogram is processed to be labeled as ‘iodized’ and sold at Tk 14.8 per kilogram. The photo was taken from Kathpatti Road in Jhalakathi yesterday. Photo: Titu Das

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Raw salt purchased from coastal producers in Cox’s Bazar for Tk 8.66 per kilogram is processed to be labeled as ‘iodized’ and sold at Tk 14.8 per kilogram. The photo was taken from Kathpatti Road in Jhalakathi yesterday. Photo: Titu Das

The government has formulated a new policy to increase domestic salt production through the use of modern and environment-friendly technologies and phase out imports by 2026, when aggregate demand is expected to reach 25.30 lakh tons. .

Including 8.76 lakh tons of the edible variety, the total salt demand in the financial year 2021-22 is estimated at 19.38 lakh tons, according to the National Salt Policy 2022 issued by the Ministry of Agriculture. Industry.

The policy aims to train salt producers and secure easy loans to increase domestic production of the chemical sodium chloride, an important element for human and animal health.

The latest policy replaces a previous one drawn up in 2016, which also had a number of objectives.

But HM Shahid Ullah, chairman of the Bangladesh Salt Producers Association, said the old policy had not been fully implemented. “…it was not efficient,” he said, adding that farmers would benefit a lot if the government helped them use modern technology to produce salt.

The new policy, like the previous ones, also aims to ensure a minimum of 100,000 tonnes of buffer stock of salt.

Shahid said the intention to build up a buffer stock to deal with emergencies has been limited to paper only. It has not yet been implemented, he said.

The new policy contains previous plans to make decisions about imports in special circumstances, allocate land, including new ones, for salt production, and ensure adequate salt supply to preserve skins during Eid-ul – Azha.

Sacrificial animal skins during Eid account for most of what the country generates annually.

According to the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), if the new policy is implemented, the desired target for salt production will be achieved. After that, there will be no shortage of salt, said Sorwar Hossain, Deputy Director General of BSCIC Extension Division.

He said a number of issues had not been clarified in previous policies.

In the new policy, all these issues such as guaranteeing easy loans for farmers and leasing land have been specified. This policy will therefore help farmers involved in this industry to move forward, he added.

He also said the new policy forecasts the annual salt demand by sector until the 2025-26 financial year. He said a good estimate of demand was important as it would help ensure domestic production.

Owing to population growth, the demand for edible salt will rise to 9.24 lakh tons in FY 2025-26 from 8.76 lakh tons in the current financial year, according to the policy.

Farmers produced 16.5 lakh tons of raw salt in the 2020-21 financial year. Till the date of the current financial year, the production of raw salt stands at 11 lakh tons, the BSCIC official said.

Producers, mainly in the southeastern coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram, produce raw salt that has been refined in mills. According to the policy, approximately 500,000 people are directly and indirectly involved in the salt industry.

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