Agriculture eyes seaweed roadmap

The Department of Agriculture said it is seeking to release a roadmap for seaweed production covering the year 2017-2022 to help farmers establish a sustainable and competitive industry. 

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol directed Undersecretary for Fisheries Eduardo  Gongona to come up with a roadmap that will lay down all the programs of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for a national seaweed program.

“Also include on the roadmap on how we are going to utilize idle fish ponds in the country,” Piñol said.

Pinol recently met with an Irish seaweed company on March 30, 2017. Ocean Harvest Technology Ltd. quality and resource manager Simon Faulker presented to Piñol a proposal to develop and commercialize ulva, also known as sea lettuce, in the Philippines for processing into animal feeds.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
“We wanted to purchase dry seaweeds or the ulva to your local farmers,” Faulker said.

“Ulva is considered nuisance but it is good source of minerals and vitamins, which is good in making animal feeds,” he added.

OHT wanted to explore the potential of harvesting ulva in Cebu, Bohol, Pampanga and Tawi-Tawi. The company visited the four sites in January.

Ulva can also be found in many areas of Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos Norte.

If approved, the company will purchase about 3,000 tons of dried seaweed in the country for processing in Vietnam. Its by-products have been marketed in some parts of the US and Canada.

Piñol, meanwhile, recommended the establishment of a processing facility in the Philippines.

National seaweed coordinator Irma Ortiz said BFAR wanted to bring back the country as the world’s leading producer of seaweeds such as Euchema and Kappaphycus.

“BFAR aims to increase seaweed production by at least 5 percent annually from 2017-2022,” Ortiz said.

Data from the Philippines Statistics Authority showed that Indonesia overtook the Philippine volume produced in 2008. Indonesia produced 2.79 million metric tons in 2009, 60 percent higher than the Philippine output of just 1.73 MMT.

Topics: Department of Agriculture , seaweed production , Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
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