Gujarat’s salt output falls to 25.5 MT

Of India’s total salt production nearly 10 million tons is being exported, 12.5 tons consumed by industries and remaining quantity consumed by retail customers.

Gujarat’s salt output falls to 25.5 MT
The deficit in the salt production would have a cascading impact on glass, polyester, plastic, chemicals and other important industries. (IE)

Due to climate and pandemic-related reasons, Gujarat’s annual salt production is continuously declining over the past three years from as high as 30 million tonne to 25.5 million tonne by the end of current 2021-22 season.

Declining trend of salt production in Gujarat is a cause of concern for the entire country as the state produces more than 80% of India’s total salt production, especially for industries as prices of industrial grade have risen.

Due to reduction in production, prices of industrial salt have gone up to Rs 1,600 per tonne currently from as low as Rs 1,200 per tonne a couple of years back.

“Production loss occurred in Gujarat due to cyclone, flood and pandemic situation in the past three year. Even in the upcoming 2022-23 season, if the monsoon would extend, salt manufacturers are fearing further loss in salt production,” said Ashish Desai, chairman of Indian Salt Manufacturers Association (ISMA).

Also read: Working on PLI schemes for more sectors, says Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal

Till 2018-19, India’s salt production was surplus, but with almost 30% decline in salt production there is negligible carry-forward stock of the commodity, claims BC Rawal, president of Isma.

“Ideally, we require at least three months carry-forward stock. At present, demand and supply of salt is neck and neck. Further dip in production means central government will have to put restrictions on exports of salt,” he added.

In 2018-19, of India’s total 34.5 million tonne salt production, Gujarat’s share was almost 30 million tonne. In 2019-20 and 2021-22, salt production in the state went down to 28 million tonne and 26.5 tonne, respectively. In the current 2021-22 season, captains of the salt industry are expecting further dip in production in the range of 25.5 to 25.8 million tonne in Gujarat.

With around 10% share, Rajasthan is the second-highest producer of salt, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh. In Himachal (rock salt) and Rajasthan (lake salt), salt is being taken by mining, while in other states including Gujarat Salt is being produced based on the solar evaporation process of sea water.

From October onwards preparation for salt manufacturing starts in Gujarat’s coastal area. Last year, the state witnessed rains till November which extended the harvest season. Generally, salt in Gujarat starts from March, but due to extended monsoon, especially in coastal areas, the majority of salt pans initiated the harvesting process from mid-April, says Bharat Raval.

Also read: Brahmastra review: Ayan Mukherji’s Rs 410 crore grand vision ends up becoming a film for kids!

Of India’s total salt production nearly 10 million tons is being exported, 12.5 tons consumed by industries and remaining quantity consumed by retail customers. The deficit in the salt production would have a cascading impact on glass, polyester, plastic, chemicals and other important industries. India is the third largest producer of salt in the world after the USA and China. The country is exporting salt to 55 countries across the globe.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

Photos