Government of India (GoI) in 1992 made mandatory iodization of edible salt. Since 2003, the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) has supported GoI in augmenting capacity of public and private sector to produce adequately iodized edible salt and achieve universal household coverage. Here we evaluate MI’s consolidation of major salt producing pockets like Kharagora, Santhalpur in Gujarat and Naupdra, Chinnaganjam in Andhra Pradesh.
In 2013-’14, we conducted a situational analysis and studies of salt iodization business models across the last 13 years, including MI’s strategy to facilitate salt industry consolidation by setting up 12 Salt Upgradation Plants (SUPs)/ washeries to produce refined salt.
Analyses found that refineries produce 67% of total edible salt with 90% adequately iodized; SUPs/ washeries produce 23% with 66% adequately iodized. SUP/washerier segment was roughtly less than 10% during 2005-’06. SUPs were key triggers for industry consolidation process by supporting cross- linkages between producers, mechanised large scale production, internal quality control mechanisms and consumer preference that led to improved profit margins. National level surveys show progressive increases in household coverage of iodized salt in India, 51.1% (National Family Health Survey III, 2005/6) to 78%, (National Iodine and Salt Intake study 2014-15, NISI).
Although, refineries are still at the top of iodized salt production, consolidation of smaller SUPs/ washeries has resulted in better technology, cross-linkages and adequately iodized salt at reasonable costs. These have contributed to increased household coverage of iodized salt.