“Salt flower”, which few Cambodian farmers have begun to collect over the last few years, is now becoming a new product gaining popularity in the market both domestically and internationally with a considerable price.
Mr. Bun Narin, Director of Thaung Enterprise – a Cambodian salt producer – said that the salt flower is not something new among salt farmers in Cambodia, but it has just gained its economic value following its introduction to the market in the past four or five years.
“Anyone in the salt field knows salt flower. Before, salt producers collected it just for their own consumption. It is more difficult to extract, but more people are doing it given the emerging market demand for it,” he told AKP.
“We can only collect about 200 kilogrammes of salt flower from a hectare of salt farm,” he continued.
Mr. Bun Baraing, President of Kep-Kampot Salt Production Community, also echoed the fact about salt flower, adding that it takes more time to extract the product.
“So far, our farmers are working hard to produce ordinary salt in order to bridge the demand gaps, so we did not pay much attention to harvesting the salt flower,” he said.
Cambodian salt farmers are still using traditional methods to collect salt these days such as depending on the sun light to evaporate the sea water for salt.
The process will also result in thin pieces of salt floating on the upper surface of the farm; these are called salt flower, and it can only be collected manually when farm is dried and the weather is hot, but not windy.
“Ordinary salt forms at the lower layers of the farm on the ground, but for salt flower float on the water above the ordinary salt,” explained Mr. Bun Baraing.
He added that the salt flower in Cambodia can be extracted only in April and May – the hottest and driest season in the country.
Studies shows that salt flower contains less sodium and is less salty, which is why it is gaining popularity when more and more people start paying more attention to their health by reducing the level of saltiness of their diet.
Mr. Bun Narin has so far about 20 tonnes of salt flowers for sale, however, the amount was not collected by himself alone, but by other farmers.
The supply of salt flower in the local market remains limited, nevertheless, producers have managed to export especially to Japan, Switzerland and Canada.
The market price of salt flower is between US$10 to US$15 per kilogramme – which is a considerable price compared with the ordinary salt.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press