Indonesia’s salt row industry a shake
Indonesia is known for its spectacular protection efforts to its local farmers, which often resulted to distorted markets and shortages of commodities.
Its latest faux pas has come over salt. The country, which is one of the biggest producers of instant noodles, is now facing shortage of salt with supply expected to last in a matter of weeks.
This forces industrial users of salt to raise the alarm, warning that the shortage could have negative effect in the overall economy.
Despite having more than 50,000 kilometers of coastline, the country is relies heavily on imported salt, spending tens of millions of dollars annually, because local salt producers have no capacity to produce enough high-grade salt.
It would also take years before the Indonesian government to come up with a comprehensive development plan for the low-tech salt industry to meet the requirements of industrial producers.
The shortage stemmed from regulatory tug of war between the Fisheries Ministry and Coordinating Economy Ministry, which has disagreements on the actual salt requirement of the country.
To avoid further damage, President Joko Widodo has stepped in, taking away the Fisheries Ministry’s authority over industrial salt imports and handing it to the Industry Ministry.