COTABATO CITY — Production of seaweeds in Maguindanao is expected to improve amid the pandemic with the groundbreaking for the site of a P4.7-million seaweed support facility in the province’s coastal town of Parang.
In an interview Tuesday, October 12, Director for Fisheries Services Macmod Mamalangcap of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MAFAR-BARMM) said the facility aims to enhance seaweed production in Maguindanao to cope with the increasing demand for seaweeds in both domestic and international markets.
Algin or alginates from brown seaweed and agar from red seaweed are widely used in bakery products, dairy products, salad dressings, creams, and jellies, as well as in processing meats, sausages and fish, among others.
On Monday afternoon, Mamalangcap and other regional fisheries officials led the groundbreaking for the site of the seaweed facility in Barangay Sarmiento, Parang town.
“We are fast-tracking the completion of the seaweed buying station with solar dryer at Barangay Sarmiento that will benefit seaweed farmers and local fishermen in the area,” Mamalangcap said.
Targeted for completion early next year, the facility includes a solar dryer that has a 120-square-meter area and a 324-square meters warehouse with a total span of 666 square meters that can store five metric tons of seaweeds.
Aside from seaweed production, Mamalangcap said the MAFAR-BARMM will also conduct a series of training to support the community-based enterprise of the members of the association.
The training will include proper handling and moving of seaweed commodities, and enhancing post-harvest processing skills to increase the income of the farmers and fisherfolk,” Mamalangcap said.
He said similar facilities will also rise in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi as well as in Lanao del Sur.
Last year, about 70.81 percent of the total fisheries production in BARMM comprised of seaweeds with a total production of 148,666.41 metric tons during the second quarter alone.
Among the BARMM provinces, 53 percent of seaweed production in the region comes from Tawi-Tawi.