BFAR orders crafting of seaweed roadmap
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has directed Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) chief and Undersecretary for Fisheries Eduardo Gongona to craft a clearer National Seaweed Program that would prepare farmers for the global market.
Piñol also ordered the BFAR chief to include in the roadmap how to use idle fish ponds.
Piñol’s directives came after meeting with Ocean Harvest Technology Ltd. (OHT) Quality and Resource Manager Dr.
Simon Faulker, who proposed that the Ireland seaweed company be allowed to buy ulva or sea lettuce, which it would send to Vietnam for processing into animal feeds.
Faulker said OHT is eyeing 3,000 tons of dried local seaweed. OHT wanted to explore the potential of harvesting ulva in Cebu, Bohol, Pampanga and Tawi-Tawi.
Piñol recommended the setting up of a local seaweed processing facility.
National Seaweed Coordinator Irma Ortiz said BFAR wants to revive the country’s status as the world’s leading producer of seaweeds such as Eucheuma and Kappaphycus by raising seaweed production by at least 5 percent annually from 2017 to 2022.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that Indonesia surpassed the Philippine’s volume produced in 2008, and a year later produced 2.79 million metric tons, 60 percent higher than the Philippines’ production of 1.73 MMT.
Euchema is used to produce carrageenan, an important product used in cosmetics and food processing as well as a food source.
Ortiz said BFAR would have to remedy the problems of limited access to credit and market, limited source of alternative income from seaweeds, limited research and development on seaweed applications, and lack of sustainable agri-fishery facility in the country.