A joint training program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) aimed at expanding the seaweed farming sector was conducted last month in
Batangas, the DOST reported.
The training program, carried out in partnership with the local government of Nasugbu, Batangas and the Batangas-based environmental group PUSOD Inc., was intended to aid local seaweed farmers and processors in expanding the variety of seaweed-based products.
BFAR statistics indicate that seaweed is an important component of fisheries production, contributing more than a third of the entire sector’s output by value. The Mimaropa Region, Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are the major seaweed producing areas of the Philippines.
According to the BFAR, the seaweed industry employs 100,000-120,000 people, 90 percent of whom are seaweed farmers while the rest are employed in various processing or trading enterprises.
The recent training program was conducted for the benefit of the GK San Franciso Javier People’s Organization of Nasugbu, which since 2005 has operated a community livelihood enterprise producing seaweed chips.
The objective of the training was to help the local organization develop additional seaweed products besides seaweed chips, such as pickled seaweed, seaweed noodles, seaweed noodles, and different types of snack foods. The program also included training in basic food hygiene and manufacturing practices, product packaging and labeling, and business accounting.
The training was led by officials of the BFAR-Calabarzon regional office and the DOST-Batangas.