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UNICEF aids Small Scale Salt Producers to ensure Universal Salt Iodization

© UNICEF/India/2006/Eric Ategbo
Small scale salt producers had always expressed their willingness to improve the quality of salt produced by them but felt constrained due to lack of appropriate equipment for monitoring the iodine content.

By Gurinder Gulati

“We are grateful to UNICEF for providing the very useful and important equipment.  We will now be in a position to improve the quality of salt being produced by us”, said Babu Bhai Pancholi, a senior leader of the Halvad Salt Producers Association in Gujarat. .   

The state of Gujarat, with a coastline of 1600 kms, produces nearly 70% (10,586 metric tonnes) of the country’s total salt.  Despite Gujarat being the largest salt producing state in India, an analysis of the salt samples tested in various districts revealed that inadequate or nil iodine content was found in the salt being produced by the small scale salt producers.    In view of this, UNICEF had taken the initiative to organize advocacy workshops with small scale salt producers to motivate them to iodize the salt as well as monitor the content of iodine in the salt produced by them.    During the dialogue with small scale salt producers, they had always expressed their willingness to improve the quality of salt produced by them but felt constrained due to lack of appropriate equipment for monitoring the iodine content.
UNICEF has taken the initiative to organize advocacy workshops with small scale salt producers to motivate them to iodize the salt they produce.
In order to build the capacity of small scale salt producers as well as address the problem of low iodine content in the salt, UNICEF has taken the initiative of putting together a low-cost mobile titration unit in collaboration with CMSCRI, a Gujarat based institute.  Sixteen such Mobile units were handed over to a group of 60 small scale salt producers from Surendranagar district at a function jointly organized by the Salt Commissioner (GOI), Health Department of GoG and UNICEF in Halvad.  

© UNICEF/India/2006/Eric Ategbo
UNICEF has taken the initiative of putting together a low-cost mobile titration unit in collaboration with CMSCRI, a Gujarat based institute.

One mobile lab will cater to a cluster of three to five units of small scale salt producers.  They will jointly hire a supervisor, who will be trained by the Salt Commissioner and after the training, he will move from site to site to test the iodine content in the salt being produced and advise producers on the results and corrective action, if any.
One mobile lab will cater to a cluster of three to five units of small scale salt producers.
Seeing the smile on the faces of small scale salt producers receiving the mobile laboratories, producers from the adjoining areas also came forward and requested UNICEF for similar support in their area as well.   Said, a representative of Salt Producers Association from Halvad, “When the representative of Salt Commissioner’s office approached us with UNICEF’s offer of strengthening their capacity with mobile labs, we did not take it seriously and declined the same.  However, after seeing the enthusiasm among other producers and having understood the benefits of improving the quality of our salt, we would also like to set up similar laboratories in our units and request UNICEF to help us in this regard”.

It is hoped that with this new initiative of working closely with the small scale salt producers to build their capacity and improving the quality of their salt, we are moving a step closer to achieving the goal of Universal Salt Iodization.

 


 

 

 

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