Gvt urged to conduct geological survey for salt

Business reporter

Salt suppliers in the country have urged Government and private players to join hands and conduct geological survey for salt deposits in the country, a development they say would reduce the monthly import bill by US$2 million.

A contact from National Foods told this publication that they were facing challenges in importing salt. He said they were not receiving foreign currency for the importation of salt as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe does not see the basic commodity as a priority.

“We need about US$400 000 per month for salt imports. We are the major suppliers of salt to wholesalers and retailers with 60% market share. We supply 2 500 Metric Tonnes a month to the local market from a packaging capacity of 4 000MT a month. However, we are not getting any allocation from RBZ yet salt is a basic commodity,” said the source.

The national salt demand stands at 5 000MT per month. Apart from National Foods, the other salt suppliers in the country are Silo Foods, Probrands, Mega Market and Jasbro, which collectively control 40% of the market.

The source said National Foods imported salt mainly from Botswana Ash (Pvt) Ltd and a South African company called Kalkprort (Pvt) Ltd. He said these companies demanded 100% payment in US dollar making it difficult for National Foods to meet the requirement as they charge salt in local currency.

“Botswana Ash has been having problems in meeting demand, so they prioritise those who make prepayments. We get limited supplies as we struggle to meet Botswana Ash’s financial requirement. As a result we end up getting salt from South Africa at US$185 per MT compared to US$160 per MT from Botswana.

“There is need for Government and private players to conduct a geological survey across the country to determine whether there are any salt deposits underground,” said the source.