Jakarta (Antara) – The People’s Coalition for Fishery Justice is asking the government to withdraw its salt import policy, claiming it harms local salt farmers.

“The government should be seriously considering how to increase the quality and production of local salt, so it will compete in the free market to fill the nation’s need for salt and to increase the welfare of salt farmers,” Kiara’s Coordinator of Education and Networks Strengthening, Selamet Daroyni, said here on Friday.

He insisted the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry of Trade immediately withdraw the policy because it is causing a decrease in salt production.

“The price of local salt is only Rp350 per kilogram, while the price of imported salt is Rp1.300 per kilogram. It really is a disservice for farmers,” he said.

He further said the government has the responsibility for the welfare of the people by withdrawing the salt import policy, building the infrastructure to improve the quality of local salt, as well as promoting andmarketing salt farmers’ products.

He said he hoped the next President, Joko Widodo, would revise the salt policy into a ‘one door’ policy, stopthe importing practices, and successfully bring prosperity to Indonesian salt farmers.

“Some of the farmers are now bankrupt because the income from salt is no longer meeting their daily needs,” he stated.

Based on the data from the Central Statistics Agency 2013, imported salt from Australia reached 128 thousand tons, valued at 5,73 million US dollars, while imported salt from New Zealand measured 143 thousand tons and was worth 60,3 million US dollars. (*)