TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Salt importers did not indicate any goodwill during the meeting held with them and farmers at home, according to Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti.
"We intended to discuss the issues faced in making the country a self-reliant producer, but the salt importers showed no goodwill," Minister Pudjiastuti said in her office here on Wednesday.
She admitted that she could understand the reason for the importers' behavior as the quality of salt produced by farmers was not good. However, they should control their imports to prevent an influx of imported salt during the country's salt harvest season.
In addition, the Ministry of Trade regulates when salt imports can be carried out, she added.
"We believe that the salt importers ignore it (the regulation) and do not care for the fate of the farmers. They are only concerned with profit," she remarked.
Moreover, the minister stated that the importers earn considerable profit. For instance, salt from Australia costs Rp500 per kilogram, whereas the price of salt in the domestic market is Rp750 to Rp1,500 per kilogram.
"I feel as though I am not respected and that the desire of the state is not appreciated," Pudjiastuti lamented.
She also pointed out that if they did not pay attention to this issue, salt businesses at home will only import the product. This will reduce the interest of various sides in investing in and working to advance thedomestic salt business.
"This is the main reason why the interest of farmers is harmed. The price of the commodity at the farmers' level will be very low," she noted.