Indonesia Emergency Shortages Of Salt?

Written by Hafiz Muaddab and Nur Abdillah Siddiq

Indonesia has 99,093 kilometers of coastline, the longest in the world after Canada (202.080 km) [1]. However ironically Indonesia still import salt as much as 4 million tons in the year 2016 [2]. In August 2017 alone, the import of salt specified by PT Salt is 75,000 tons from Australia [3]. Certainly it is a serious question, what is the capacity of the salt produced Indonesia? Grandson Sutara as Secretary General of the Association of the user Industry Salt Indonesia (AIPGI) said that the national salt production in 2016 only reach 144,000 tons of necessity as much as 4.1 million tons. As for the requirement of 4.1 million tons, 780,000 tons for public consumption, and the rest for industrial use [2]. This means that the quantity of production against the salt consumption in Indonesia is 1:28.

So why a country filled with salt water is not able to meet the needs of the salts themselves?

To note, based on Geological survey America in 2016, the total production of Salt worldwide is 255 million tons. The largest salt producing countries in the world are China and the quantity of production by as much as 58 million tons, then followed by the United States that is as much as 42 million tons, and as many as 19 million tonnes of India [4]. If comparing the length of the coastline of the country with Indonesia 3 (99,093 km), then China 14.500 km, United 19,924 km, and 7,000 km of India [4]. So the length of the coastline of Indonesia than the largest salt producing countries in the world (China) is 6.8-1. 

So far there is only one company Indonesia (PT Garam (Persero) which is capable of producing high-quality salt. Artificial salt PT. Salt contain NaCI 94-97%, while other salt producers in the country still contain 80-90% [5]. Although high-quality Salt, can only meet a fraction of the needs of the market. In the year 2016 the achievement of salt production raw materials from PT salt reached approximately 25,000 tons, it is very contradictory on the target company's Budget and work plan (RKAP) PT Garam targeting 350,000 tons [6].

The Government of Indonesia has been trying to support the local salt industry's through (Act) Act No. 7 of the year 2016 on the protection and empowerment of fishermen, Fish Resources, Pembudi and Salt Farmers. This was confirmed by Minister of trade regulation number 125/M-DAG/Per/12/2015.  Statutes and regulations the Minister hopes to push the local salt industry to meet the needs of salt Indonesia, but what happens is the local salt industry has a serious constraint on the standards established by regulation 2 such.

For salt consumption, quantity content of NaCl is a 94.7% and 97% at most, while for industry needs kandunganya is 97% [5]. Industries that require salt include the food industry, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, oil and pulp and paper. Each industry requires high quality industrial-grade salt (NaCl 97%) which is difficult locally produced in Indonesia. For Users of salt industry association (AIPGI) regulations the Secretary of Commerce number 125/M-DAG/Per/12/2015 is a threat to the survival of the local salt industry. Thanks to pressure from various parties and issues of serious import salt, in August 2017 Government issued a plan to remove the distinction between salt consumption and salt industry [5]. Through the Elimination of the differentiation, expected local salt production can be used for both (consumption and industry).

In the field, salt made locally are often products of small scale salt farmers who use traditional harvesting methods (evaporating). Evaporating is a technique that is very dependent on the weather, where sea water was piped into the pond and then the water is left to evaporate. Then after a while the remaining salt will precipitate at the bottom of the embankment. Usually, the manufacturer of the salt harvest their products after four to eight days (instead of in the range 2-3 weeks as needed in Australia) [7]. The salt industry passes through three stages of processing, while salt salt farmers generated only through one stage.  Of course salt that is produced through this simple method is salt low grade (90%) <.

Machinery manufacturers require industrial grade salt, the presence of the low grade salt can cause damage to the engine factory so as inhibit the production process. There was a circle of interrelated processes. That is to say before the Government issued a regulation to eliminate the differentiation of salt consumption and industrial salt, then salt should already be "armed" in order to be able to produce high-class salt. Because if not, then the salt farmers still could not meet the needs of the industry and the removal of the differentiation will not solve the problem of high import salt. This is where students can play a role, making the appropriate technology to be able to produce salt with NaCl > 90% in household scale.

Even if there is a salt company is interested to do the salt industry modernization in the country, then get the amount of land required to build large scale processing facilities is a difficult thing to do. For example, as released by Bank Indonesia, the total investment value of salt needed in the province of NTT was of Rp10,74 billion assuming the investment value of Rp. 60 million/acre [8]. While to cultivate salt iodized salt being needed an additional investment amounting to Rp. 2 billion for the construction of the factory and warehouse storage as well as the purchase of equipment, so that the total investment required in the amount of Rp12,74 billion.

For instance, to meet the needs of national salt necessary optimization of land covering an area of approximately 20,000 ha. This just gives you an idea that the production of high-tech salt only profitable when done on a large scale. But in Indonesia, the issue of land ownership, the high cost of existing concessions and even the more complicate the issue. Without government support, salt producers will be hard to build this type of salt found in neighboring countries such as China. With a successful technology is protection and rain along the Bohai Bay of China [9], will salt industry investment in Indonesia will begin by China?


[1] the latest: the length of the coastline of Indonesia Achieve 99,000 kilometers. Retrieved on December 16, 2017

[2] the maritime countries of Indonesia but why have to import salt. Retrieved on December 16, 2017

[3] This STATE-OWNED Import 75,000 tons of salt from Australia. Retrieved on December 16, 2017

Baca juga:

[4] the 10 largest salt producing countries in the world. Retrieved on December 16, 2017

[5] the Government will remove the Distinction of salt Industry-consumption. Retrieved on December 16, 2017

[6] the REFLECTION of 2016 and 2017 OUTLOOK PT GARAM (Persero). Retrieved on December 16, 2017

[7] the Salt producers show local flavour. Retrieved on December 20, 2017.


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