A major new report, based on a new global survey, paints a picture of a salt industry that could be worth billions of dollars and a huge boon for the Himalayan nation.
The World Salt Alliance (WSA), which was founded by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, aims to create an inclusive, global network of salt companies that would offer a wide range of services, from processing to production.
The survey of 1,600 salt companies, which was commissioned by the International Salt Association (ISA) and published in the journal Science, found that while the salt industry is still a small part of the global economy, it has the potential to be worth tens of billions of US dollars.
“The salt industry has been at the forefront of economic growth in India and has become an important pillar of our country’s salt production,” said Sitaram Kaul, secretary-general of the WSA.
“The report shows that the salt sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy, and is also the fastest growing industry in the world.”
The salt sector employs nearly 7 million people globally and the study found that the global workforce is expected to grow from 1.7 billion in 2020 to 6.6 billion in 2030.
According to the study, salt production is projected to double by 2030, with a total of 10 billion tonnes of salt produced globally.
In terms of the salt that is consumed, India’s total consumption of salt is projected at 2.5 million tonnes annually by 2020, a rise of 50% from 2014, and it will reach a peak of 4.6 million tonnes by 2025.
The salt produced in India accounts for nearly 20% of global consumption, with China and the US being the two biggest users, accounting for 27% and 15%, respectively.
India’s total salt consumption is expected increase from 4.5 billion tonnes in 2020, to 5.5bn tonnes by 2030.
The global salt industry in 2020 was worth $1.8 trillion, while the value of global salt production was $2.1 trillion, according to the report.
The report said that this figure includes the salt production of companies, the value that is lost when salt is consumed as a result of industrial wastage and the cost of processing the salt.
“As the world moves towards the transition to a low-carbon economy, we can only expect more investments and better efficiency in the salt economy,” said Shubha Pandey, chief executive of ISA, the body that spearheaded the project.
The report said the salt industries are a growing and dynamic part of India’s economy, with annual revenue growing by 40% between 2010 and 2020.