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Business

Guimaras seaweed growers to hike output

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Seaweed growers in Guimaras Island are increasing production through a counterpart-funding scheme with the World-Bank supported Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), the Department of Agriculture (DA) said yesterday.

More than 400 seaweed growers from the towns of Sibunag, Nueva Valencia, San Lorenzo and Jordan are participating in an P18.5-million initiative called the Guimaras Seaweed Production and Marketing Project under the enterprise  component of the PRDP.

The World Bank would provide P8.89 million in counterpart funds  for production support, while the national government and the provincial government of Guimaras would each contribute P2.96 million as counterpart funds.

 

The project proponents, the Sabang Seaweed Growers Association (SSGA) would provide an equity of P3.70 million.

The DA said the project would create additional employment for women and out-of-school youth and ensure sustainability of volume and quality of production.

Guimaras Island is the second largest producer of seaweed in Western Visayas next to Antique and has many potential areas for expansion considering that it is situated between the islands of Panay and Negros.

This would definitely boost the local industry especially because seaweeds is easy to culture, has a big market potential and the SSGA has shown active participation,” said Ronnie Morante, provincial agriculturist of Guimaras.

Morante added that members of SSGA have undergone training and capability-building on management, marketing and production technology, stressing that each one was required to develop a 1,000-square meter production area.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) would provide seaweed growers with new varieties of planting materials that are resistant to pest and diseases.

Under the program, the SSGA is challenged to increase seaweed stocks by 10 percent in six years based on their 16 hectares production area.

The Philippines produces about 1.75 million metric tons of seaweed annually.

Seaweed and carrageenan made from seaweed remain among the country’s top 10 agricultural exports.

Carrageenan is used as an additive for food and non-food products that need gelling, thickening, binding, texturizing and suspension properties.

The Philippines produces US-Food and Drug Administration-approved natural grade carrageenan.

Among the major markets for Philippine seaweed products are US, China and France.

The PRDP, rolled out at the beginning of the second semester of 2014, is a six-year program implemented by the DA with the World Bank for the creation of an inclusive, value-oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.

The total project cost for the PRDP is P27.5 billion consisting of a P20.5-billion loan from the World Bank, P3.58-billion counterpart funding from the national government, P3.112-billion equity of local government units, and P287 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The PRDP builds on the innovations introduced by the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) that was concluded in 2013. It would cover 80 provinces in 16 regions.

 Local government units that choose to participate in the project are required to provide counterpart funds of 10 percent of the project cost for production support for commodities and 20 percent of the project cost for infrastructure projects.

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CHINA AND FRANCE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DRUG ADMINISTRATION GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY GUIMARAS GUIMARAS ISLAND PRODUCTION PROJECT SEAWEED WORLD BANK
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