Salt Production Declines in Arakan State

Narinjara News

Salt production in the coastal state of Arakan in western Burma is expected to be lower than last year due to the decline in demand for the salt in Burma's neighboring country, Bangladesh, says an Arakanese salt producer.

Bangladesh domestic salt producers are using modern methods to get a greater yield, and this, combined with the Bangladesh government's ban on salt imports and higher transport costs since last year is pushing down the demand for Burmese salt in Bangladesh, reports a Bangladeshi salt trader.

Burmese salt used to be a popular import item in Bangladesh, but it lost its popularity due to increased customs charges in Burma and a stricter watch on salt smuggling in Bangladesh.

Since the demand in Bangladesh has dramatically decreased, salt prices have gone down and salt production is no longer a viable business. The Arakanese salt producer says it costs 15 to 20 kyats to produce a viss, or 2.5 kilograms, of salt, while the market price is only about 25 kyats.

In Arakan State, about 423,000 tons of salt are produced each year, but most of it is exported to Bangladesh. In 2005, about 400,000 tons were exported to Bangladesh, said a report from an Arakanese trader association.

Salt is produced in almost every coastal region of the state, particularly in Maung Daw, Akyab, Mrae Bon, Ranbree, Kyaukpru, Mran Aung, and Saddway. According to the Burmese government statistics, there are 5,128 acres of salt production in Arakan State, and salt-making is one of the major livelihoods of the Arakanese people.