Salt is one of the most vital and most essential resources for everyday living. It adds a unique value to food and man’s general existence. Salt is a globally-recognized crystalline mineral which has been in use for several thousands of years, even as far back as 6000BC. Evidences suggest that salt predates all available historical records about it.
Harvesting salt takes place in various countries. Major salt-producing countries include China, The United States of America, India, and Germany, among others.
In 2019, China produced approximately 63,606 metric tonnes of global salt, which placed them as the highest salt producers. The US followed with 42,655 metric tonnes and CAGR of -1.2% while India came trailing them with 19,248 metric tones of salt with a +2.5% CAGR.
As of 2018, the United States was the leading importer of salt worldwide, with an import value of approximately 745.8 million U.S. dollars. That same year, Japan imported around 286.4 million U.S. dollars worth of salt. On the contrary, the Netherlands was the leading exporter of salt worldwide with exports valued at approximately 319.93 million U.S. dollars while Germany exported 255.24 million U.S. dollars worth of salt worldwide.
Nigeria’s salt production level is still relatively low, as the country’s salt mines account for only about 0.01% of global salt production. Nigeria imports table salt and pure Sodium Chloride, from Brazil. The value of the import of salt to Nigeria in 2018 totalled $68 Million, and the export of the same commodity amounted to $26 Thousand (including table salt, denatured salt, and pure Sodium Chloride).
The country’s salt production problems can quickly be solved with proper governmental assistance and funding. The salt mining industries in Nigeria and other concerned institutions are heavily lacking attention. Notwithstanding, the sources of salt are still in abundance.
Therefore, the faster these areas can be handled, the more rapidly Nigeria’s salt industry would develop. This makes the salt industry in Nigeria or Africa at large a fertile ground for you if you’re interested in the salt production business. You will find the step-by-step guide on how to start a salt production business as you read on.
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What Is Salt?
Salt is a mineral primarily composed of sodium chloride, a strong taste and white crystalline substances. It is one of the base spices used in improving food flavour and also in food preservation. By scientific analysis, salt is a chemical compound. Any ionic molecule made of an acid and a base that creates ions when dissolved in water is known as salt.
What Is Salt Production?
Salt production is defined as the processing of salt from the raw form to pure crystals where it can be used in households for cooking and dyeing. Various companies also use it for the production of other substances.
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Business Opportunities In Salt Production In Nigeria & Around The World
1). Food Seasoning:
Salt is the world’s number one seasoning, and it is used in practically every food dish. Salt modifies the flavour of various foods, making them more desirable.
2). Cosmetics Production:
Salt is used in the manufacturing of skin products and also in hair treatment. Salt performs various functions like skin exfoliation, which is the removal of dead or dried up skin. It can also be used as an ingredient in hair cleaning products because it contains chemical compositions which are excellent agents for killing bacteria and removing odour.
3). Cleaning Agents:
When mixed with certain chemicals, salt provides excellent cleaning substances which are used for cleaning at homes and other areas. Salt can be combined with vinegar and further used as a cleaning agent for copper and silver wares.
Facts And Benefits of Salt Production Business
- Salt can be gotten from two primary sources – seawater and rock salt.
- Salt is one of the world’s oldest and mostly used food seasonings
Salt is used in food and body preservation
- The level of salt intake in China is confirmed as one of the highest in the world. Chinese adults consumed roughly 10kg a day over the past decade.
- Out of the annual global production of salt, only about 6% is used for human consumption.
- About 40% of Nigerian adults are hypertensive, mainly due to excessive salt intake.
- Nigeria accounts for only 0.01% of global salt production.
- The English word “salary” comes from the word salt.
- Sometime in the past, salt was used as a currency for trading.
- Salt also keeps the body hydrated.
- It keeps the body pressure regulated
Salt contains 40% sodium
- The word ‘salt’ originated from the Latin ‘Sal.’
- An average human consumes 75% of their daily salt through packaged foods.
- The recommended amount of salt to be ingested daily is a maximum of 6g.
- Cheese, prawns and bacons contain high salt levels.
- Salt is also useful in making body scrubs.
- Major salt-producing countries include China, The United States of America, India, and German.
- Salt production is predominant in Enugu, Sokoto, Imo, Delta and Ebonyi states of Nigeria.
- Sea salt particularly helps digestion
- A sea salt bath will prevent skin complications such as dryness and eczema.
- In certain ancient Japanese cultures, sprinkling salt around the home is believed to keep evil spirits away!
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Types of Salt
1). Sodium Chloride:
This type of salt is the most common. It is also known as table salt. Sodium chloride forms a lattice when in solid form. It is one of the safest forms of salt and can as well be ingested. This type of salt is an extremely weak acid due to its large radius and slow charge. The charge of the Cl- ion is weak. When dissolved in water, sodium chloride creates a neutral solution.
2). Potassium Dichromate:
Potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7) is orange-coloured and comprises of potassium, chromium and oxygen. Potassium dichromate is toxic to humans and is also an oxidant. This type of salt is mainly used in chemistry labs and for scientific purposes. It is a potential carcinogen.
3). Calcium Chloride:
Calcium chloride (CaCl2) has a resemblance to that of table salt resembles table salt in its terms of colour. This particular type of salt is used to remove ice from roads because it is capable of melting ice down to -25 F. Calcium chloride is also a highly hygroscopic compound. This means it can absorb enough water in the atmosphere.
4). Sodium Bisulfate:
Sodium Bisulfate (NaHSO4) is formed from Sodium, Sulfur, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Sodium Bisulfate is also used for cleaning metallic objects, reducing PH levels of swimming pools, and for cleaning concrete. Sodium bisulfate is highly toxic and can damage the skin in direct contact. It is therefore advisable to handle this type of salt with gloved hands.
5). Copper Sulfate:
This type is a blue salt made up of copper, Sulfur and Oxygen. When dissolved in water, it becomes colourless. If you dip an iron object in copper sulfate and water solution, the iron soon takes on a red colouring.
How To Start Salt Production Business In Nigeria: Step-by-Step Guide
Starting a salt production business can be executed with proper planning and reasonable effort. It is fully affirmed to be a rich source of revenue to an entrepreneur. There are many salt deposits in Nigeria, and only very few are being exploited. Steps on how to startup a salt production business include:
1). Draw a Business Plan:
Having a business plan is the bedrock of any business. The total cost of equipment and materials to be procured or hired and wages to be paid to workers should be specified.
All these would be based on the target market, method of production, and capital. Your business plan should also cover details like the name of your business, funds to register the company legally, to secure necessary permits, and settle taxes.
This refers to the series of steps in choosing a location for a salt production factory.
The production company should be as close as possible to the salt deposits to reduce the cost of transport and vehicle maintenance. Amenities and infrastructures like security, water supply, electricity, and good road networks should be considered when siting the salt production firm. Such values increase the cost-effectiveness of the business.
3). Hiring Personnel:
Salt harvesting is a hectic task and, therefore, requires employees of labour to increase the level of harvest. Hiring well-trained employees help the business grow as well.
4). Purchasing Machines and Equipment:
There are different equipment used for the different methods of salt production. These machines depend on the scale of your business. The most popular method used by small scale businesses is solution mining. Some machines and equipment needed for salt production are trucks, containers, water tanks, vacuum pans, salt harvesting machine, brine transfer pump, conveyor, crystalliser, etc.
Processed salt should be packaged into pillow bags formed from polymeric and cold-resistant films. A preferable salt packaging machine should be purchased. As an alternative, the refined salt should be transferred to a partner packaging company to package the salt.
This refers to all the strategies involved in marketing salt products to clients and customers. Marketers play a significant role in this sector, as they can make the salt products available in all states of the country.
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Challenges of Salt Production Business in Nigeria
- There are salt springs at Imo, Plateau and Ebonyi states; and rock salt in Benue State. Siting a company outside these states will be challenging as the unprocessed salts will be transported over a long distance.
- Poor road networks make it difficult to operate a salt business outside salt springs states.
- Salt business requires huge capital for startup and management
- Salt workers (mostly miners) are exposed to a lot of hazards that can harm their health.
- Salt cannot be exported without reaching the minimum loading quantity.
- Low government assistance for individual investors in salt.
- Inadequate measures to aid exportation of salt.
- Lack of facilities for processing.
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To Sum It Up
Salt production business is a lucrative resource at both global and local levels. Therefore, salt never runs out of demand and cannot be substituted with any other substance. With the right policies and machinery in place, a salt production business in Nigeria is bound to soar.
The salt production business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a supply chain business to venture into, the salt production business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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