Industry demands GI tag for pink salt

Salt manufacturers stress need for value addition, diversifying exports

Usman Hanif May 05, 2023


The Salt Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (SMAP) has appealed to the government to step up efforts for obtaining Geographical Indication (GI) tag for pink salt, a unique product that is exclusively present and mined in Pakistan.

The industry lobby urged the government to follow the example of Basmati rice and register pink salt as a GI product through the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO).

SMAP Chairman Ismail Suttar, while underscoring the need for giving pink salt a GI tag, termed value addition to minerals and chemicals a great opportunity that would ensure a better future for the country.

“Instead of paying increasing attention to traditional items, we have to focus on other export sectors, so that overseas sales could get a boost,” he said.

He expressed those thoughts while speaking at the annual dinner of the association.

“Registering pink salt as a GI product can help raise export earnings, which can stabilise the rupee as well,” Arif Habib Commodities CEO Ahsan Mehanti told The Express Tribune. “Value-added minerals will add to export earnings of the country,” he said.

Around 50 companies have applied for the GI tag for pink salt, which is being considered by Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC).

“There are 92 minerals in Pakistan, but except for gypsum, no work has been done on minerals and chemicals,” Suttar said and sought the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan’s (TDAP) support for setting up a testing laboratory in Balochistan.

He pointed out that Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) Policy Advisory Board Chairman Younus Dagha was setting up a calcium fluoride unit in Hub, which was expected to become the key export item in the next five years.

“Pakistan is the only country producing pink salt; India exports the mineral globally as its own brand,” said Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) President Zulfikar Thaver.

TDAP CEO Zubair Motiwala, while assuring businessmen of support for establishing the laboratory in Balochistan and GI tag for pink salt, emphasised that there were vast opportunities for development in the pink salt industry and urged the government to encourage value addition.

According to Dagha, exports should be diversified and special attention should be paid to minerals and agriculture. Currently, chrome is being exported at $200 per ton, which may go up to $400 after value addition, while the value of ferrochrome is up to $1,400.

Sindh Secretary Mines Khalid Chachar said “we have issued 86 permits for salt while 39,000 hectares of land has been leased”.

PMDC General Manager Asghar Karim revealed that pink salt was being registered after which traders associated with the sector would be able to use the logo.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2023.

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