TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Brahmantya Satyamurti Poerwadi, director general of sea territory management at the Ministry of Fisheries (KKP) said that his ministry is unable to do more to overcome the shrinking salt fields in Sampang, East Java, since the land in question is privately owned.
“KKP does not own the fields, it’s the people who own it,” said Brahmantya in Central Jakarta on Tuesday, October 8. He further explained that the ministry’s authorization is limited to protecting the welfare of salt farmers.
The diminishing amount of salt fields was revealed by the data provided by the Sampang District Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Agency in August 2018. The agency’s records suggest that the salt fields had slowly turned into residential areas.
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“The productive privately-owned salt fields managed by local residents and companies currently amount to 2,800 hectares,” said Moh Machfud, Head of Cultivation at Sampang’s Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Agency.
Sampang’s salt fields in 2011 was known to spread across 4,382.7 hectares that produced 397,922 tons of salt production. Each salt field produced an average of 80-100 tons of salt per hectare. In its current state, the salt fields managed by residents could only produce 224,000 tons, which is a 36 percent decrease in the past 7 years.
“This has caused an annual drop in salt production,” said Machfud.
The drop in salt production takes place in the midst of the government’s plan upon increasing the national salt production which would need around 40,000 hectares of salt fields. This is needed to fulfill the nation’s consumption of 4.2 million tons of salt each year.
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