Salt exports from Thoothukudi on a declining trend
As for Prabhakaran John, a salt exporter from Thoothukudi, exports have came to a naught over last two years.
MADURAI: Salt exports from Thoothukudi, the largest producer in Tamil Nadu, have been witnessing a declining trend over the years.
According to reliable sources from the shipping industry in Thoothukudi, 56,000 tonnes of salt were shipped during the fiscal year 2019-20 and in the subsequent fiscal year 2020-21, exports dipped to 22,000 tonnes and shipments declined so dramatically during 2021-22 when only about 9,000 tonnes were made.
In the current fiscal, exports went further down to 4,500 tonnes at the end of November in 2022, sources pointed out.
Of these shipments, only a few overseas countries including Malaysia and Maldives imported some quantities of Thoothukudi salt.
Once upon a time, Sri Lanka was one of the largest buyers of Thoothukudi salt, but the Chinese manufacturers captured the market.
Ten years ago, a large volume of salt was exported to Indonesia, but in recent years it came up with its own salt fields relying on its indigenous production, sources said.
Citing a host of factors such as a decline in production due to unseasonal rains and a rise in price due to a decrease in accumulation of stocks, Michael Motha, salt manufacturer cum exporter from Thoothukudi on Sunday said all these have contributed to the decline in exports.
Thoothukudi’s salt shipping could hardly compete with Gujarat, the largest producer in India, which is the third largest salt production centre around the world.
Currently, the average market price ranges from Rs.3, 500 to Rs.2, 500 depending on its quality. Its price might go down in May and June if there’s no summer rainfall.
As for Prabhakaran John, a salt exporter from Thoothukudi, exports have came to a naught over last two years. “When it comes to cost efficiency, the buyers or importers preferred Gujarat to Thoothukudi,” John told DT Next.
MSP Thenraja, president of the Salt Merchants Association, Thoothukudi said the domestic market fared better than the international market and the manufacturers were happy.
As of now, a tonne of top-quality salt is priced at Rs 3,000. “At a time when salt production reached its quality level, rains occurred affecting its standard,” he said.
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