DoST chief wants sustainable salt industry in PH

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Department of Science and Technology (DoST) Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena said he wants to explore the development of the country’s salt industry, and aims to make its growth sustainable.

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The Philippines, being surrounded with bodies of water, has a lot of potential in salt production, the agency said.

Data gathered by the DoST revealed that the country used to have a vast salt industry. In fact, four provinces (Cavite, Bulacan, Pangasinan and Occidental Mindoro) used to supply about 85 percent of the country’s salt requirement back in the 1990s.

However, because of the effects of climate change, many salt producers opted to close their business, and have ventured into other profitable opportunities.

The DoST noticed that even if the need for salt have remained, the producers, especially those who relied on old production technique, were greatly affected by the climate change.

Their salt farms were affected, and that also led to the country’s dependence on imports in order to keep up with the local demands, the agency continued.

To solve the problem, the DoST shared that the local government unit (LGU) of Occidental Mindoro sought the help of government agencies, asking them to invest on research that would boost the local salt industry.

The LGU highlighted the importance of research and product development for the salt industry to become competitive.

The DoST-Mimaropa responded by introducing a technology that would help the people produce salt even under the changing weather conditions.

According to the agency, this technology lowers the production cost, while also developing salt crystallization process that can withstand the rainy season.

”This improved salt production will result to 95-99 percent purity in the salt as compared to 82-92 percent before,” said DoST.

Furthermore, the DoST-Mimaropa has prepared a project that will focus on value-adding of salt. “This aims to make the country’s salt production industry be at par with other salt-producing countries,” the agency added.

Also, the agency has lined up different research and development activities that will include gathering of scientific data to identify significant processes in salt production.

”We are committed to support the programs and projects for salt industry rehabilitation, and provide technological assistance needed as well as other science-related activities,” remarked Dela Pena.

Meanwhile, apart from the usual uses of salt, it may be recalled that a Filipina scientist used this product to produce SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) lamp.

Engineer Aisa Mijeno, together with her brother, created the SALt lamp which functions by just using salt water or a saline solution.

She earlier told PNA that this lamp can last for eight hours, and has a lifespan of about 11 years, depending on proper handling and maintenance.

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