Salt harvesters in Selel Region, Somaliland have strongly urged the government to ban salt imports.
Somaliland Local civic leaders and salt harvesters called on the government to issue an ultimatum which prohibits salt traders and import-reliant industries, to immediately stop selling imported salt and not grant any import permits for the importation of salt as the commodity is available locally produced and provides for the livelihoods of local farmers.
Mr. Abdi Farah, a salt farmer from Saylac, “We are gathered here to express our grievances as local farmers to denounce the importation of salt from China to the country by a section of local businessmen hence our appeal to the concerned authorities to intervene and stop the importation of the commodity as previous administrations.
Ms. Halimo, a salt farmer speaking during the press conference said, “Not only does the local salt sector create jobs for thousands but it would improve the local economy by paying taxes which is gradually creaking back to life, expected businesses to work together and forge partnerships with local farmers to produce industry salt
“We are trying to do our part as residents of Saylac to contribute to the nation economy and we are answering the calls of the government to invest and honestly we see very much promise in the sector hence the need for the government to intervene,” she stressed.
Mr. Abiib Nur Osman, a local councilor stated, “The state is responsible for funding and promoting of production as well as the improvements in quality, as well as procuring new technology and monitoring progress but this isn’t the case, ‘he said.
He added , “The government should promote industrial development of the sector, the Ministries of Trade and Energy and Minerals should act and put in place sector-specific interventions to broaden sector and product base in the country. The government should undertake necessary measures taking into consideration the available raw material locally and the need to develop the value chain of the sector.
Salt is currently mass-produced by evaporation of seawater or brine from brine wells and salt lakes. Mining of rock salt is also a major source. China is the world’s main supplier of salt. In 2010, world production was estimated at 270 million tonnes, the top five producers (in million tonnes) being China (60.0), United States (45.0), India (20.0) Germany (16.5), and Canada (14.0).
In the context of Somaliland and the region, the use of salt will be limited to few requirements including table salt, basic food processing, leather tanning and textile due to the country’s lack of any meaningful industrial base. However, one area where salt is used in a large proportion is “livestock-salting”. This is done once every few weeks when animals are fed with a mixture of salt and saline clay known as “Arro” with the aim of reducing worms inside the guts of animals and making their meat lean and tender.