Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - Malaka District in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) has targeted to develop over five thousand hectares of salt ponds to function as the backbone of the local economy.

"The salt pond development target set by NTT Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat for us is five thousand hectares. We are striving to develop five to 10 thousand hectares," Head of Malaka District Stefanus Bria Seran remarked here on Thursday.

Currently, salt production in the district was centered in Rabasa Village in West Malaka District, spanning an area of 32 hectares.

The salt pond is operated by PT Inti Daya Kencana since 2018 and is expected to enter its harvesting period within the next month or two.

The largest salt pond, spanning five thousand hectares, will be developed in Wewiku Sub-district.

"In Wewiku, we have prepared 300 hectares of land. We have readied the plots, and we continue to work on it to open five thousand hectares of salt ponds," he explained.

The salt pond development endeavor will likely absorb more workforce, as a hectare of pond will require five to eight workers.

Seran clarified that land owners will not have to sell their land, but they have in the ponds.

Earlier on Wednesday, during a visit to Kupang, President Widodo made assurance of domestic salt production being able to meet the demand.

"I am here to ascertain that the program concerning salt production has been initiated. We are aware of having imported 3.7 million (metric) tons of salt, while domestic production has only reached 1.1 million tons. (The gap) is still too wide," Jokowi noted in a statement.

East Nusa Tenggara has salt production potential, with its area reaching 21 thousand hectares for salt ponds.

In Kupang, at least seven thousand hectares of land can be developed as salt ponds.
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Translator: Aloysius Lewokeda, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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