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GIS, Supply Chain for Salt Farms in the Philippines

Using mapping software, selected salt farms in Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental in the Visayas and Misamis Oriental islands of the Philippines, as well as Zamboanga in Mindanao, were successfully plotted.

The Geographic Information System (GIS) will be helpful in developing salt production suitability maps, which will address land and water resources as well as infrastructure, allowing salt farming in the selected areas.

The visibility of supply chain participants on GIS maps will be an excellent aid in establishing their population as well as tracking the geographic flow of salt throughout production, trade, and consumption.

In the Philippines, solar evaporation is the dominant technique of salt production. Salt manufacturing takes place throughout the summer months, from November to April, when there is plenty of sunlight and the weather is conducive to the formation of salt crystals in specially constructed salt ponds.

However, the production cycle is negatively impacted by the alterations in weather patterns caused by climate change, which is one of the industry’s greatest obstacles. In addition, only one of the 149 salt farms evaluated used the cooking method to make salt, while the remainder used the solar evaporation method.

Farmers, traders, and consumers were among the players in the plotted salt supply chain. Market intermediates or traders are market participants who engage in one or more of the following marketing practices. These middlemen typically regulate salt prices based on the strategies they employ during value-addition.

They are grouped into four categories, and among those located in the Visayas and Mindanao, retailers were found to be the most numerous (42.9%), followed by wholesaler-retailer (25.7%), assembler-wholesaler (22.9%), and wholesalers (8.6%).

The viajeros, also known as assembler-wholesaler, were found in the province of Negros Occidental, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Misamis Oriental. These viajeros acquire salt directly from salt producers and bring it to the market centre, where it is distributed to other middlemen or sold directly to institutional customers.

With the adoption of Republic Act No. 8172 (ASIN Law), assembler-wholesalers must iodize the salt before packing if the salt will be distributed to other provinces. Hence, it was encouraged that to improve the accuracy of the GIS maps, the actual GPS should provide and synchronise with the supply chain player.

It was also recommended an open-access salt-mapping system for government institutions and other interested parties, which will substantially aid in the maintenance and validation of information on GIS maps.

Salt is a vital mineral. Most of the salt produced worldwide is used in the production of heavy chemicals, ceramics, glassware, textiles, and metals. It is also an incredibly important chemical for healthy nutrition and human body function by assisting in the maintenance of internal equilibrium, regular physiological functions, and resolving medical concerns such as sore throat, toothaches, and digestion problems using saline solutions.

In addition, the application of GIS technology assists not just the salt sector but also handles issues such as disaster management. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has the Remote Sensing and Data Science (DATOS) Help Desk, which aims to develop and distribute relevant catastrophe information to agencies and key end-users to supplement existing government agencies’ and projects’ efforts.

DATOS extends and incorporates previous and ongoing DOST-funded research, as well as other Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), and other Data Science methodologies. GIS can also be used to improve health, the environment, and agriculture, among other things.

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