A Unites States grant program in Palawan is convening anew a range of stakeholders involved in the province’s seaweed industry in a bid to strengthen market linkages for the marine product.
Cecilia Isubal, coordinator of the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth and Equity (SURGE) project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said a conference scheduled on March 1-2 is expecting some 200 stakeholders from the seaweed industry.
Isubal said the two-day activity is aimed at increasing marketing opportunities for the seaweed farmers by establishing linkages with buyers.
“Nandiyan ang ating mga seaweed farmers, at nandiyan din ang mga buyers. Dito ay mabibigyan natin sila ng pagkakataong mas mapatibay ang producer-buyer linkage,” she said.
Aside from market opportunities for seaweed producers, the forum will also focus on the research and development, support programs to seaweeds, financing, and other business opportunities.
“Tinitingnan talaga natin yung value-chain. Dapat from the source hanggang sa production at hanggang sa marketing yan,” Isubal added.
She further explained that all the issues and concerns of the value chain is being addressed to assist the seaweed farmers, and provide them necessary interventions.
Isubal stated they have also been promoting the seaweeds produced in Palawan as safe and no-added fertilizers. “I-promote na walang fertilizer na ginagamit ang seaweeds galing dito sa atin, isa yan sa importante,” she said.
The network established in May 2017 has expanded to seaweed farmers in the towns of Quezon, Taytay and Cagayancillo, according to Isubal. They are also working out to further expand it in the entire province.
The seaweed network is now pushing for their inclusion or membership with the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP), a bigger association of seaweed producers and processors, which will further improve their market linkage and opportunities.