The opening of the first Iodized Salt Processing Facility in Palawan, which is part of the initiative to reinvigorate the salt industry in the country, is seen to improve the marketability of the locally-produced salt in Dumaran, Palawan, which considered as the largest salt-making community in the province.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Mimaropa, Provincial Government of Palawan, and the Local Government Unit of Dumaran, opened the first iodized salt processing facility in Palawan last month, located in Barangay Danleg. This facility extends opportunities to families residing in rural and coastal communities to participate in iodized salt production.
DOST-Mimaropa has provided the facility with essential equipment, including an Iodizing Machine and a Salt Washer, both developed by the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI). Additionally, DOST-MIMAROPA, in partnership with DOST-ITDI, has conducted training sessions to equip salt farmers with the knowledge on iodized salt production.
“This significant undertaking comes in response to the imperative of ensuring proper iodine intake among consumers, as mandated by the Asin Law or Republic Act 8172, which requires iodine supplementation in salt,” DOST said in a statement.
Based on data, 93 percent of the country’s current salt requirements are outsourced and only seven percent comes from local salt producers. But it was different 40 years ago, when 85 percent of the salt requirement was sourced locally while only 15 percent came from imports. The change was due to the passage of Republic Act 8172 also known as Salt Iodization Act that mandated all producers of food-grade salt to iodize their products.
Dumaran, a third-class municipality in northern part of Palawan with more than 23,000 inhabitants, is known for its salt producers, however, their market expansion was curtailed due to the rigorous enforcement of the Asin Law. Salt farmers, although manually incorporating iodine, encountered hurdles such as slowed production and uneven iodine distribution within the salt.
“To tackle these challenges, DOST-Mimaropa and the Provincial Government has realized the first Iodized Salt Processing Facility in Barangay Danleg, Dumaran. The primary objective of this endeavor is to augment production capacity while enhancing the overall quality of salt through contemporary production techniques,” the DOST said.
Gregorio Padul, a member of the Bohol Salt Makers Association explained that this project will help them expedite salt iodization and improve its marketability.
“Malaking tulong itong proyekto sa amin upang maging iodized ang pagproseso sa asin at ito ay makakadagdag kita po sa aming mga salt farmers dahil mayroon ng maayos na pasilidad para sa aming paghahanap-buhay,” Padul said.
Dumaran town is a predominantly farming and fishing community located around 200 kms or about 4 hours away from Puerto Princesa. It has 16 barangays, with 9 barangays are located in the mainland while 7 are on the island.
The DOST said that the facility is projected to be fully operationalized this September 2023.