Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, or table salt, is an important product in all countries around the world, including Somaliland. Salt is added to food, either by the food producer or by the consumer,
as a flavor enhancer, preservative, binder, fermentation-control additive, texture-control agent and color developer. In tanning and leather treatment, salt is added to animal hides to inhibit microbial activity on the underside of the hides and to attract moisture back into the hides. It is also used in food processing including packing, canning, baking, and dairy and grain mill products. Salt is used in industrial applications and processing including oil and gas exploration; in textile dyeing and in processing heavy metals like aluminum, beryllium, copper, steel and vanadium. In addition, salt is used in rubber manufacturing and in paper and pulp industry, and to increase the curing of concrete in cemented casings and to provide firmness to highway bridge foundations. Among the other uses of salt include pharmacological products and veterinary medicines etc. and to melt snow in many cold countries during winter.
Salt is currently mass-produced by evaporation of seawater or brine from brine wells and salt lakes. Mining of rock salt is also a major source. China is the world’s main supplier of salt. In 2010, world production was estimated at 270 million tonnes, the top five producers (in million tonnes) being China (60.0), United States (45.0), India (20.0) Germany (16.5), and Canada (14.0).
In the context of Somaliland and the region the use of salt will be limited to few requirements including table salt, basic food processing, leather tanning and textile due to the country’s lack of any meaningful industrial base. However, one area where salt is used in a large proportion is “livestock-salting”. This is done once every few weeks when animals are fed with a mixture of salt and saline clay known as “arro” with the aim of reducing worms inside the guts of animals and making their meat lean and tender.