National Webinar SBE UISC 2021 x FDEP
Industrialisasi Garam Nasional Berbasis Teknologi
by Metty Ariani
Known as an essential element for life, salt is considered a high valued compound in many countries, including Indonesia. To gain a better understanding of salt industrialization in Indonesia, SBE UISC in collaboration with Forum Diskusi Ekonomi Politik (FDEP) has been conducting a series of discussions from March 2021. As a final event of the entire collaboration, a national webinar was held on September 24, 2021, focusing on the topic of salt production strategy in Indonesia with the intervention of technology. More than 300 participants from different regions throughout Indonesia attended this national event. Five speakers were invited, they are Dr. Agus Gumiwang, the Minister of Industry in the Republic of Indonesia; Dr. Miftahul Huda, M. Si., the Marine Service Director Directorate General of Marine Spatial Management, Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries; Ir. Amalyos Chan, the Deputy Assistant for Downstreaming of Maritime Resources, Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs; Prof. Dr. -Ing., Misri Gozan, M. Tech, IPU, researcher and writer of “Hikayat Si Induk Bumbu”; and Hemawan Prajudi, S.T., the Vice Coordinator of Public Policy and Institutional Relations from Indonesia’s Food and Beverage Industry Association (GAPMMI).
The event began with some foreword from the Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering UI, Bapak Asep Handaya. Then, after a few words from SBE UISC’s President, Afina Zamara, and a welcoming speech by the Director of FDEP himself, Pak Susetyo Raharjo, each speaker started their discussion in turns.
The topics discussed by the five speakers were mostly about the salt industry’s condition in Indonesia related to technology and the government’s programs. The discussion was opened by Pak Agus Gumiwang, revealing that salt is a strategic commodity for this country. As a Minister of Industry, he confirmed that despite the ever-increasing salt demand in Indonesia, national salt production is still lacking both in quantity and quality. Thus, salt import is still yet to be done due to some difficulties. Several things are causing problems for salt industrialization. According to the second speaker, Prof. Misri Gozan, most salt production in Indonesia still uses the conventional way based on evaporation. He also added that the differences in salt concentration in seawater made not every place could become a source for salt production.
To address these problems, the third speaker, Pak Miftahul Huda affirmed that back then, in 2016, the government had already established a salt empowerment program for salt farmers called PUGAR that consists of upstream and downstream of salt production, from pre-production to marketing. Now in 2021, as a continuation, the government introduced a Sentra Ekonomi Garam Rakyat (SEGAR) to replace the PUGAR program. The program was conducted to make all the aforementioned stages into one location, hence forming a salt economic center. In his presentation, Pak Miftahul pointed out that salt technologies, including thread filter technology (TUF), geomembrane, salt land integration, and many more, need to be introduced to salt farmers for further implementation.
The fourth speaker of this event, Pak Amalyos said that the markets were predicted to raise up to 5 million tons of salt in 2022. Thus, he specifically stated that extensification with the cooperation of technology has to be done first before doing a purification to meet the required salt specification. The importance of this standardization was also confirmed later by the final speaker, Pak Hemawan Prajudi. According to him, each sector has a different salt requirement. As the representative from GAPMMI, he concluded that compliance with these regulations is mandatory because of its links to export-import.
The discussion was closed by a question-and-answer session. One of the most interesting questions was about whether all these programs are really going to increase the national salt production so that imported salt is no longer necessary. Overall, the speakers all agreed that it could be done because the whole implemented technologies were made to reach that goal. However, they also admitted that maintaining the continuity of national salt as the primary source of salt availability in Indonesia is still a real challenge. Therefore, the role of future generations as the next engineers is needed to build a better salt industry in Indonesia.