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Salt supply problems due to years of negligence, says DA exec

An official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday alleged that the shortage of salt supply in the country is due to the years of negligence in the industry, including by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). 

In Ivan Mayrina’s report on “24 Oras,” DA Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban questioned why BFAR has yet to utilize its P100-million budget for 2021 to boost salt production in the country.

“For the last two to three years wala akong nakitang activity na ginagawa ng BFAR kundi kumuha ng pera at pabayaan. Sa katunayan nga may P100 million pa sila ng 2021 na naka-program sa kanila pero hindi pa na-release sa kanila at na-follow up,” Panganiban said.

(For the last two to three years I have not seen any activity done by BFAR but to take money and neglect it. In fact, they have P100 million for 2021 programmed to them, but it has not been released to them and followed up.)

On Tuesday, BFAR said that it allotted P100 million to salt production this year.

BFAR Chief Information Officer Nazzer Briguera said the amount would allow for the expansion of the country’s salt industry and to ensure the continuous and sufficient supply of salt.

Briguera said the amount will also be allocated to strengthen the capacity of salt makers in the country.

The Marcos administration earlier bared its plan to enhance the country's salt production.

The Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said the Department of Agriculture, which is being headed by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., will lead the efforts together with other government agencies.

In the plan:

  • the DA will implement programs and initiatives for boosting salt production and supply
  • BFAR will to lead various research and development initiatives on salt production and assist marginal and artisanal salt makers
  • the Development of the Salt Industry Project (DSIP) for salt makers in Regions 1, 6 and 9 will be realized
  • the DA will expand salt production areas and push for the development of technologies to accelerate salt production
  • the DA will work with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to fully develop the local salt industry under Republic Act 8172, or the Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN)

The Department of Trade and Industry increased the price of salt after years of it remaining unchanged. It approved an increase in prices of iodized rock salt to P21.75 for 500 grams and P23.00 for one kilogram.

The suggested retail price for a 100-gram pack of iodized salt is set at P4.50. The price for a 250-gram pack ranges from P9.00 to P11.75. It is P16.00 to P21.25 for a 500-gram pack. One kilogram of salt is priced at P29.00. — Mel Matthew Doctor/BM, GMA News