This island’s most successful seaweed pilot project developed by the seaweed industry cluster team some three years ago is expected to be replicated in two other coastal areas villages in this island.
“We’re looking at two possible sites just north of our pilot project in barangay Tambo as part of our upgrading program in this project,” said Domingo Ang, head of the seaweed industry cluster team and president of Philippine Export Federation (Philexport) Davao chapter and Marina Tuna Corporation.
Ang said the seaweed farmers and fishermen in the two coastal villages of Camudmud and Libuak on the northern tip of Samal Island (officially known as Island Garden City of Samal) in Davao del Norte need to be mobilized and organized into cooperatives by the industry cluster team sometime this year.
“We like to replicate our success with the Tambo seaweed project by organizing these seaweed growers and provide them training, technical support and a stable market for their seaweeds,” Ang said during a cluster meeting with consultants of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the joint partner of JICA, supported by other government agencies in the second stage of Davao Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project or DICCEP 2.
JICA senior consultant Tetsuo Inooka cited the Tambo seaweed pilot project as a “very good model” for replication to other provinces in the country that show good potentials for growing and producing seaweeds.
“There’s big income for seaweed farmers, it’s a good way for them to make a good living. Big buyers buy seaweeds to make carrageenan for export” Inooka told the seaweed cluster team.
The JICA consultant was particularly impressed with the Tambo project’s “integrated food production” system that uses the sea water below the wooden drying platform to grow exotic sea products like lobsters and lapu-lapu fish commercially.
“This is added income for seaweed farmers waiting for their seaweeds to grow. It’s a very good model that should be copied by other provinces,” Inooka said.
A Japanese seaweed buyer who attended the industry cluster meeting with the cluster team offered to buy all the Spinosum seaweeds grown by coastal growers in Davao del Sur for export to Okinawa, Japan.
Urasaki Tatsuhiko, owner of Sakura Pioneer Trading, has been buying fresh Spinosum seaweeds direct from seaweed farmers in Punta Biao, Digos, Davao del Sur then drying them just enough and sealing them into small plastic bags before shipping them by air to Japan.
Ang stressed that the coastal farmers of Davao del Sur grow mostly 75 percent Spinosum, a specie of seaweeds good for table salad.
While Samal seaweed growers grow 100 percent Cottonii, the specie of seaweeds used as raw material to produce Carrageenan powder, a blending agent with thousands of consumer and industrial uses in the world’s biggest economies.