AROUND 80 to 85 percent of salt distributed in Northern Mindanao are imported, according to a manufacturer of iodized salt in Misamis Oriental.

Edmund Gustilo, owner and proprietor of Red Sea Enterprises manufacturing iodized salt, said salt plantations in the Philippines are producing poor quality of "brackish," which prompted local manufacturers to consider importing raw materials from Australia.

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"We prefer the imported salt because of its higher quality yet lower in prices," Gustilo said during a forum on salt Iodization held yesterday as part of Technology Business Café, organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Northern Mindanao.

However, Dr. Simer Belacho of the Department of Health (DOH) in Northern Mindanao noted that the low price on imported salt was due to the fact that it is still a "raw material" for manufacturing iodized salt.

Gustilo said a 25-kilogram of potassium iodine, a chemical used for iodization, would cost the manufacturer almost P50,000.

"I myself is a salt producer. I can easily identify what kind of salt we use," Gustilo said.

He added that if there's no importation, "maybe, the ratio of salt and consumers would only be a spoon of iodized salt iodized per month."

Gustilo even said the salt produced locally easily melts, which manufacturers had difficulties on producing again.

"We don't have facilities, plus the climate is erratic," he said.

He added that there's really a need for manufacturers to import raw materials in order to produce high quality of iodized salt.

In addition, Belacho urged expansion of salt evaporation plantation to harvest more salt to supply the huge demand. (Loui S. Maliza)