THE Southern Mindanao Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (Smarrdec) is targeting to expand seaweed plantation in Davao Region by 50 percent in the coming years.
"Right now, we are promoting the expansion of seaweed areas in Davao Region because right now, we only have about 400 hectares. We want to expand it by 200 hectares more," said Dr. Grace Bacaltos of the Southern Philippines Agri-business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (Spamast) in yesterday's edition of Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao.
Based on the data released by Bacaltos, Davao Region has a potential of 706 hectares for seaweed plantation. Davao Oriental has the largest potential area at 306 hectares, followed by Davao del Sur (165 hectares), Davao del Norte (160 hectares), Davao City (50 hectares), and Compostela Valley (25 hectares).
Bacaltos said there is a huge potential in the industry particularly when it comes to the value adding of the product.
She said some of the potential products that can be made from seaweeds include fertilizers, crackers, noodles, and pharmaceutical products, among others.
"Right now, Spamast is partnering with the University of the University of Immaculate Conception to conduct a research for the industrial use and pharmaceutical use of seaweeds," Bacaltos said.
She said through value-adding seaweed, farmers will be able to increase their income.
Smarrdec consortium director Dr. Lourdes Generelao, in a statement, said seaweeds are the primary sources of agars, alginates, fucellaran, and carrageen, which are found in many commercial, industrial, and pharmaceutical products.
The expansion efforts are part of Smarrdec's Seaweed Farms and Industry Encounters through Science and Technology Agenda (Seaweed Fiesta), which aims to revitalize the seaweed industry in Davao region through science and technology interventions. The project was launched on November 27.