- Unrefined salt price drops by Tk3-Tk4 per kg in a year
- Salt is Tk6-Tk8 per kg
- Last year it was Tk10-Tk11
- Required amount is 1.5 lakh to preserve rawhide during Eid-ul-Azha
- 5,00,000 tonnes of unsold salt in the country
- In the past, 20,000 to 25,000 kg of salt was refined every day in Lalmia Salt Mill at Chaktai in Chattogram
- 15,000 kg of salt is refined at present
- preserving a 20-feet rawhide was Tk250 which will be Tk150
- demand for salt is 18,24,000 tonnes in 2020
- 21 lakh tonnes of salt have been produced
The price of salt increases every year before Eid-ul-Azha, but this time the price of unrefined salt has come down because of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the salt mills in Chattogram, unrefined salt is selling at Tk6-Tk8 per kg depending on the quality and area. Last year the same salt sold for Tk10-Tk11, a drop by Tk3-Tk4 per kg.
According to the Bangladesh Salt Mill Owners Association, most of the crude salt is used to preserve the raw animal hide. Whereas 1.5 lakh tonnes of salt will be required to preserve the skins of sacrificial animals during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha,the country has currently a stock of five lakhs tonnes of unsold salt.
In the past, an average 20,000 to 25,000 kg of salt was refined every day in Lalmia Salt Mill at Chaktai in Chattogram but due to the pandemic, an average of 15,000 kg of salt is being refined at present.
Farid Uddin, the owner of Lalmiya Salt Mill, said that the price of local salt is declining due to the imported salt. Moreover, Covid-19 has created a new crisis in the salt industry. Almost all mills have unsold salt, so the prices have also come down. Sales are down by 20-30 percent.
"I used to collect salt separately for Eid-ul-Azha every year but this time the situation is bad. So, I'm just selling the existing stock of salts I have," he said.
Nurul Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Salt Mill Owners' Association, told The Business Standard that the country's salt industry is under threat due to the imported salt while Covid-19 has worsened the situation. Millions of tonnes of industrial salt are unsold due to the closure of mills.
Besides, crude salt used to preserve animal skin is also extra. So, there is no possibility of price increase, rather prices may fall.
Leather traders said the cost of preserving the rawhide of the sacrificial animalswould come down this year.
Mohammad Muslim Uddin, former president of the Greater Chattogram Raw Leather Storekeepers' Cooperative Society, said the cost of leather preservation would decrease this time as the price of salt was lower. For example, if the cost of preserving a 20-feet rawhide was previously Tk250,it will be Tk150.
According to the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation, the demand for salt in the country is 18,24,000 tonnesin 2020. However, the country has produced about 21 lakh tonnes of salt. There are around 30,600 salt farmers in the country.