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SEAWEED

I.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Seaweed is an important component of the marine ecosystem along with the mangrove and coral reefs and can be viewed in two perspectives, from its ecological value as well as its economic uses.

Seaweed contributed about 27% to the total 2002 fisheries production, with Regions IV, IX and ARMM as major producers. The steady increase in production for the past five (5) years (1997-2002) can be attributed to high market demand, better price and good weather condition that encourage farmers to expand their areas for seaweed culture.

The industry employs between 100,000-120,000 manpower where 90% are seaweed farmers and the rest are seaweed processors and traders

The Philippines is one of the top producers of seaweeds in the world, specifically the red seaweeds - next to China and Japan. Seaweeds are exported either in raw forms (fresh or dried seaweeds) or processed forms (semi-refined chips/carrageenan and refined carrageenan). The major importing countries of seaweeds and its natural products are France, Korea, China, USA and Hong Kong.

Despite the continuous increase in seaweed production and share in the world market, the industry is beseeched with existing problems and constraints. To address these problems and constraints, the DA-BFAR will provide strategies and interventions for the next fifteen (15) months which include, among others the, e.g. establishment of additional seaweed nurseries, promotion of seaweed health management, provision of post-harvest facilities and establishment of a pilot semi-processing plant.

II. OVERVIEW OF THE INDUSTRY

The Philippines seaweed is highly diversified among the flora in Asia-Pacific regions. More than 800 species of seaweeds have been recorded in the Philippines. The major commercial seaweeds in the Philippines. The major commercial seaweeds in the Philippines are Eucheuma, Kappaphycus, Gracilaria spp.and Caulerpa lentillifera. Other seaweeds with economic importance are Codium, Gelidiela acerosa, Halymenia, Porphyra and sargassum spp.

Seaweed farming used to be an alternative livelihood in the 80's. It is now emerging to be an important and major livelihood i the coastal areas, specifically in the Southern Philippines. Kappaphycus alvarezii and Eucheuma denticulatum are the major species cultivated and where two major culture methods used by the farmers namely; the fixed bottom monoline and floating monoline.

A. Accomplishment

Figure 1. Seaweed Production from 1997 - 2002 (Source: BAS)
Figure 2. Seaweed Production by Region, 2002 (Sorce: BAS)

 

B. Supply Chain

Figure 3 illustrates the marketing channel of seaweeds. The high profit and fast return on investment for seaweed culture motivates farmers to shift from fishing into farming. The industry employs between 100,000 - 120,000, 90% of whom are seaweed farmers and the rest are seaweed processors and traders.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of the total production are processed into semi-refined chips/carrageenan, and thirty-one percent (31%) are exported raw (dried), and the remaining eleven percent (11%) are processed into refined carrageenan (Source: SIAP). the low proportion of seaweeds that is processed into refined carrageenan is attributed to high cost of production and lack of technology.

Figure 3. Distribution Channel for Philippine Seaweed

 

C. Primordial Market

The Philippines is one of the top producers of seaweeds in the world, specifically the red seaweeds-ranking third, with china as the top producer and followed by Japan. About 41,267 MT valued at 3.54 billion pesos was exported to France, Korea, China, USA and Hong Kong.

Figure 4. Seaweed Top Export Destination (CY 2001)

 

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