Steady demand, low production lead to increase in salt price

Salt manufacturers in Thoothukudi, the largest contributor from Tamil Nadu, which is one of the leading producers in India, are upbeat about market prospects this year as the price keeps rising.
Salt being harvested from a pan in Thoothukudi.
Salt being harvested from a pan in Thoothukudi.

Madurai

According to ARAS Dhanabalan, secretary, Thoothukudi Small Scale Salt Manufacturers Association, 2021 turns out to be a remarkable year for stakeholders relying on the salt manufacturing industry. The decline in edible salt production this year inflated the price to a new high. Unlike previous year, production suffered a dip by nearly 50 per cent owing to unseasonal rains in the peak of the season from June this year, Dhanabalan told DT Next on Sunday.
Even before the peak season, Thoothukudi salt pans witnessed sporadic rains early this year and manufacturers managed with a delayed start and scrapped a new crop in April instead of January 15, SKSCN Dharmaraj, a manufacturer, said.
MSP Thenraja, president, Thoothukudi Salt Merchants Association, said the market price of a tonne of manufactured salt touched a historic high of Rs 3,200 against the previous year’s market price of Rs 2,800. The demand for this edible commodity remains steady in southern states, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. To cater to the consumption demands, about three to five lakh tonnes of Thoothukudi salt would be dispatched to these states, Thenraja said.
A Thoothukudi based manufacturer, S Petchimuthu said not only in Thoothukudi, salt production went down in other parts of Tamil Nadu and also in parts of Gujarat owing to intervention of rains. Moreover, salt exports did not pick up this year since most of the stakeholders were not interested in shipping consignments overseas since the domestic market is enterprising.
Although prospects look upbeat, stakeholders relying on the international market said they had been looking for the best quality, which needs to be ensured. Since rains eroded the quality of this commodity, it’s market could not be compromised, sources added.

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