Australian Embassy

New refinery delivers Timor-Leste's first local iodised salt

New refinery delivers Timor-Leste's first local iodised salt

21 September 2015

Liquica– An Australian Aid supported business, NPM Industries launched a salt manufacturing facility today, a first-of-its kind in Timor-Leste.

Attended by Australian Ambassador Peter Doyle, HE Constancio Pinto, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Environment, HE Antonio da Conceicao, Minister for Education, and HE Veneranda Lemos, Secretary of State for Promotion of Equality and HE Joao Alegria De Jesus, President of Tokodede Federation in Liquica, the inauguration marked a key milestone in the partnership between NPM Industries and the Market Development Facility (MDF).

During the opening of the salt refinery Ambassador Doyle said that modernising salt manufacturing and adding iodine creates a triple win. It benefits local salt collectors, local industry and the health of Timorese consumers*.

"Australia wants a strong and prosperous Timor-Leste, and partnerships with businesses like NPM are key to promoting economic growth and creating jobs" he said.

The partnership provides on-the-job training for staff to operate the refinery, introduces modern salt farming technology, and assists with raising awareness of the benefits of iodised salt.

"We have already bought over 600 metric tonnes of salt from 409 salt collectors and are processing this into 250 gram packets, which sell for 10 cents on the local market," said Subhash Mishra, Director of NPM Industries. "We can compete with imported salt and provide the Timorese people with a great tasting and healthy product made here on local soil."

"We hope to expand and continue to buy salt from more local collectors and one day export Timorese salt in the region," said Subhash Mishra.

MDF has active partnerships with 14 businesses in Timor-Leste and is aiming to benefit over 4500 poor women and men in the country. The Australian Government is investing AU$6.8 million in MDF in Timor-Leste over four years.

* A diet low in iodine leads to iodine deficiency, particularly in women and young children. The disorder is easily preventable but affects an estimated 5 percent of people in Timor-Leste (up to 20 percent in some districts).