CL salt industry gets new life from BFAR programs

(Logo grabbed from BFAR-Central office's Facebook)
(Logo grabbed from BFAR-Central office's Facebook)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO —The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region III (BFAR-3) implements measures, input assistance, and new technology to help local salt producers in Central Luzon.

BFAR director Wilfredo Cruz said they are doubling efforts to support existing salt producers and establish more areas for production.

He mentioned that BFAR has been extending assistance to salt farmers in Bulacan, Zambales, and Aurora.

The government is now pushing for support for the salt industry since the issue of salt importation came to light in 2023.

The country has been importing 93 percent of its salt supply from China and Australia, despite having one of the longest coastlines in the world.

Central Luzon has one of the country’s longest regional coastlines, with the Aurora coast alone spanning 332 kilometers.

Central Luzon has traditional solar salt beds, mainly in Bulacan province and dozens of cottage salt-making coastal communities.

In its current state, Central Luzon’s salt farms can produce 5,000 metric tons per year.

Cruz said that with enough support, salt makers can produce more.

In 2023, P17 million was allocated by the government for the salt-making sector in Central Luzon.

Solar Salt Farms in Bulacan

Cruz stated that there are about 400 hectares of solar salt farms in Bulacan.

Solar salt farms are traditional salt beds that use traditional methods, utilizing the sun as a drying agent.

Most of these farms are located in the coastal areas of Bulacan province, in Malolos, Paombong, and Bulakan.

Cruz said that BFAR has also considered the traditional methods of making salt in these areas.

The agency is now providing clay tiles and wood planks used in actual salt production and repair of salt warehouses.

Salt farmers in Bulacan province take advantage of the summer and dry seasons to produce salt.

Some of the salt beds, however, are converted into fishponds during the rainy seasons.

Salt produced in Bulacan is used for agricultural and industrial applications, with a significant portion ending up as table salt.

Ecotourism Salt

According to Cruz, BFAR has also started a community-based approach to salt production in Bulacan, incorporating it into an eco-tourism program with indigenous people as beneficiaries.

“Aurora has the reputation of having the cleanest ocean,” Cruz said.

He added that salt produced there has finer grains.

Unlike in Bulacan, the production system in Aurora involves cooking, utilizing fine-filtered seawater.

Cruz mentioned that locals also use waste materials from coconut production, like coconut husks and shells, in cooking salt, reducing energy costs for production.

The salt produced in Aurora can also be used as a component for fertilizers for coconuts.

To boost local production, BFAR has been distributing solar salt production packages.

These include materials for solar salt production, small cooking furnaces, and high-density polyethylene for salt production.

BFAR stated that the “solar salt package is a step in reducing reliance on traditional salt cooking methods and tapping into the full potential of renewable energy sources.”

“We are also looking at helping our salt makers in the iodization of their food-grade salt through availab

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