YOGYAKARTA - Minister for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Fadel Muhammad, said that Indonesia has to immediately stop the salt import policy, due to the current domestic production of salt that has reached more than 1 million tons per year. "Actually, the potential for salt is quite big. This country could meet its needs. Imports should be reduced," Fadel said on the sidelines of alumni reunion of UGM Graduate School, Friday (23/9).
According to the man from Gorontalo, up to now the government continues to import salt from various countries, reaching up to 935 thousand tons per year. However, the high amount of imported salt with a very low price makes the price of local salt drop. "As a result, not many local farmers are willing to produce salt, because it is not economically profitable," he added.
Fadel said that the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs is developing a center for salt industries after the termination of salt import policy. As many as ten potential locations are selected for the empowerment of centers for salt, namely Indramayu, Cirebon, Pamekasan, East Nusa Tenggara, and three locations in Madura. "So far, there are only 40 locations of salt producing centers in ten regencies/ cities," he said.
Fadel said that with the addition of salt central location, the production will increase. Thus, imports should be reduced to affect growth and development of local salt production. Meanwhile, for the development of salt industrial centers, the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs has allocated budget up to 90 billion rupiah this year. "The amount will double next year, fully allocated to the empowerment of salt production," he added.
In the same occasion, Chairman of the Board of National Fertilizer, Dr. Zaenal Soedjais, said that local governments are expected to assist in marketing agricultural products so that the best prices can be enjoyed by farmers. Regions also struggle to prevent the entrance of agricultural goods from abroad if they have the possibility to disadvantage farmers. "This policy has been in place for Sragen and Tasikmalya. Presumably, other regions would do the same thing," he concluded.