Players see other uses for seaweed

THE seaweed industry’s outlook for the remaining months of the year continues to be optimistic, as players embark on new applications for seaweed.

Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (Siap) chairman Max Ricohermoso said they anticipate more usage of seaweed for industrial use, no longer limited to food additives, as it is widely known.

“Players now are looking at various ways to come up with high-value usage of seaweed,” he said.

A high demand for seaweed is also seen in fresh salads being sold in restaurants and markets across the country.

According to Ricohermoso, seaweed production remains steady, with Palawan providing the biggest volume.

“We are praying for no major weather disturbances as we end the year. Otherwise, this will somehow reduce the volume,” he said.

The industry is aiming to produce 100,000 metric tons of seaweed for the year, almost the same in 2017.

Dried seaweed is priced at an average of P70 to P80 per kilo in the market.

A year after they won the case against US National Organic Standard Board (NOSB), the group is urging seaweed players to open up their farms for tourism too boost awareness about seaweed and its potential applications.

“By including seaweed as a tourism attraction, we can further boost awareness,” he said.

Besides the US, China is a growing market for seaweed. Traditionally, most Asians love seafood, he said.

According to Ricohermoso, they remain alert that carrageenan will not be delisted again in US NOSB’s list of approved organic food.

“It is subject to a five-year review. We are making sure our products pass their standards,” he said.

Two years ago, the industry faced one of its toughest challenges when the NOSB recommended the removal of carrageenan in the list. This threatened the livelihood of 200,000 Filipino farmers who are reliant on seaweed. (KOC)


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