China buys more seaweed from Mindanao
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (27 November) -- From a mere P35 per kilo, the price of seaweed has soar to P110 per kilo as China increased its demand for the said product.
This has encouraged more entrepreneurs to engage into the business of seaweed farming, according to marine biologist Ronald Simbajon who is one of the presenters in the Mindanao Investment Conference last Tuesday.
Simbajon bared that the increase in the price seaweed was brought about by the sudden increase in the demand from the China market.
Due to the high demand, local producers of Carrageenan has now gained an upper hand to increase the price.
Data showed that China has more than 150 Carrageenan processors and is needing about 80,000 metric tons of dried seaweeds annually. The industry growth in China rose to 10 to 14 percent annually.
The country is the world's biggest producer of farmed Eucheuma seaweeds supplying about 60 percent of the raw material for Carrageenans.
"This industry contributes US$ 150 million to the Philippine economy, benefiting more than 160,000 coastal and island dwelling families, and allied services," he said.
Simbajon's presentation showed that more than 20,000 hectares are utilized out of hundred thousands available.
A quarter of a hectare seaweed farm is already an ideal farm size per family that could accommodate 500 monolines of 12.5 meter length harvest of 10,000 kilogram per cropping.
The investment would only cost P80,000 with an expected annual income of P300,000.
The seaweed industry has also an ecological importance. The seaweed biomass attracts various marine species and provides sanctuary and breeding ground for marine life.
It could also dramatically minimize destructive fishing practices and sustain productivity in the reef. (PIA) [top]