Philippine seaweed farmers urged to tap rising local demand
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - April 13, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — While the international demand for refined seaweed products continues to stabilize, the Philippine seaweed farming sector is likewise urged to tap the rising local demand.

In an interview yesterday, Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP) chairman Maximo Ricohermoso noted that if farmers will be provided with good linkage to the market, supplying fresh seaweed to restaurants is another channel to earn, aside from selling their produce to industrial buyers.

Ricohermoso, who owns seaweed processing plant MCPI Carrageenan Corporation, said that the Philippines in general should start to include fresh seaweed in the vegetable menu choices in restaurants. Aside from the rich supply here, the health-conscious market could support the growth of fresh seaweed demand.

Selling fresh seaweed to restaurants, as part of the menu, such as healthy-salad and others, could fetch higher income for farmers compared to prevailing price per kilo now floated by industry buyers.

“I’d like to see farmers sell fresh seaweed to local market,” said Ricohermoso, adding that the cost is 10 times higher than the usual channel.

The problem now is farmers don’t have access to the local market, which means someone has to bridge the farmers to the restaurants or big fresh seaweed market.

Also he noted that local applications for seaweed both food and industrial uses is improving. In fact the local demand is now catching with the export volume.

Meanwhile, Ricohermoso downplayed the concern of climate change to affect the seaweed farming sector in the Philippines, saying the farmers are resilient enough to combat the negative effects of extreme weather conditions.

With stable export orders and strong local demand, seaweed farming industry continue to provide good livelihood prospects for farmers, he added.

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