‘Yolanda’ victims to get seaweed farm tools

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THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has deployed its vessel F/V Tambakol on a mission to distribute seaweed farming implements to growers affected by super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan.)

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BFAR Executive Director Asis Perez said fishing vessel had with 19.8 tons of farming materials— including seaweed seedlings, nylon ropes, plastic twines and floaters—when it left Sangley Point, Cavite and sailed for Eastern and Western Visayas last January.

In coordination with the local government units (LGUs) of Caluya Island in Antique and Iloilo and Palompon in Leyte, the bureau brought down seaweed farming materials estimated to benefit over 3, 000 seaweed farmers in the coastal areas.

A total of P405.7 million of the approved rehabilitation fund for the fisheries sector has been allotted to aquaculture to fast track its recovery. Of this, P178 million is for the rehabilitation of the typhoon-hit seaweed farming areas.

Damage assessment by the BFAR showed that more than 2,000 hectares of seaweed farms were affected by Typhoon Yolanda in MIMAROPA, Central and Eastern Visayas and the Bicol Region.

“With good weather condition, proper planting and maintenance procedures, seaweeds can be harvested after 45 days of seeding,” said Perez adding that a fisherfolk with one hectare of seaweed farm can earn P200,000 from four harvests per year..

Preliminary data of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed that seaweed production suffered an 11 percent decline from 2012’s 1.75 million metric tons (MT) due to natural calamities like typhoons Wilma and Yolanda and from disease in some major seaweed-producing provinces like Zamboanga del Norte and Tawi-Tawi.

BAS, however, said that the value of seaweed production grew by 1.30 percent due to price appreciation and high demand for some seaweed species.

This year, Perez said the BFAR would intensify its national seaweed program by establishing 66 seaweed nurseries across the country and expanding its production in the Philippine Eastern Seaboard, a non-traditional seaweed production area.

Perez said BFAR is eyeing a growing market for the nutritious “lato” or edible seaweed.

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