DTI: No salt shortage in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 25) - The Department of Trade and Industry on Thursday assured the public that the country's salt supply is enough, despite the agency approving a price hike for the commodity.

DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said they allowed some manufacturers to raise prices as it has been around six years since their last increase.

"Mayroon talaga tayong in-allow na magtaas ng presyo ng asin. Kailangan maintindihan natin that itong mga manufacturer na ito (ay) sobrang tagal nang hindi nagtataas ng presyo. Parang umabot na ng 4, 5, 6 years bago sila nag-request ulit," said Castelo in a public briefing.

[Translation: We really allowed some manufacturers to raise the prices of salt. We have to understand that it's been a long time since these manufacturers increased their prices. It's been around 4,5, or 6 years since their last request.]

"Sa computation natin, dapat talaga itaas ang presyo but in the issue of supply, we have sufficient supply," she added.

[Translation: In our computation, there really is a need for a price hike, but in the issue of supply, we have sufficient supply.]

As of Aug. 12, iodized rock salt costs ₱21.75 for 500 grams and ₱23.00 for one kilogram.

Meanwhile, the SRPs for iodized salt are as follows: ₱4.50 for 100 grams; ₱9.00-₱10.75 for 250 grams; ₱16.00 to ₱21.25 for 500 grams; and ₱29 for 1 kilogram.

The Department of Agriculture earlier said the country is experiencing a shortage of salt and that the industry has been neglected for more than a decade. It also noted that salt production is only done in Batangas province and in Mindanao.

But the DTI said there are four large salt manufacturers and some imported brands that are available in the market.

Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) president Rosendo So backed the DTI's assurance, saying the country has ample supply.

"Yung salt production natin malaki sa Pangasinan. Nakita naman natin marami tayong stock," So told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: Our salt production in Pangasinan is large. We have plenty of stocks.]

So said the country has already produced at least 6 million kilos of iodine salt as of July this year compared to last year's total of 3 million kilos.

He added that 628 million kilos of rock salt were produced last year while 324 kilos have already been produced as of July this year.

So, however, said the country is too dependent on imported salt and called for more support for the local industry.