TAGBILARAN CITY – The Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has poured in a total of PhP20 million to help recover the seaweed farms losses as a result of the super-typhoon “Yolanda” that also struck the northern part of the province on November 8, 2013, provincial BFAR officer Crescencio Pahamutang said in an interview yesterday.
He said that PhP15 million of the funds are downloaded to the province and the remaining fund (PhP5-M) is handled by his office. But he could not give estimate of the seaweeds losses.
The fund assistance was primarily used for procurement of planting materials, “PE rope, softie (plastic straw used for tying seedlings), styrofor floats, and others to some 50 people’s organizations (POs), Pahamutang said.
These POs that culture seaweeds are scattered from far east to northeastern and northwestern part of the province particularly in the towns of Anda, Candijay, Mabini, Ubay, CPG, Talibon, Getafe, Buenavista, Inabanga, Tubigon, Panglao and Calape, all in Bohol.
BFAR confirmed that Bohol is the third largest seaweed producing province in the country after Tawi-Tawi and Palawan.
Mayor Rey Niño Boniel of Bien-Unido town, who claimed to be the seaweed capital of Bohol and Central Visayas, said that whatever help his town receives he would be grateful for the fund assistance to the multi-million dollar seaweed industry.
The mayor said that the industry thrives in his town and this reduced illegal fishing since some fishermen are now shifting to seaweed growing.
Pahamutang said that spinosum species of seaweed is now selling at PhP40/kilo from only PhP12/kl of dried seaweed. Cottoni kind sells at PhP55/kilo of dried seaweed.
Pahamutang said that raw and dried seaweed are sold to processors to produce carrageenan or for food processing or gel agent and pharmaceutical purposes. Dried seaweeds are also exported other countries with carrageenan manufacturers.
In this way, they can produce high-quality seaweeds which make higher prices in the world market.
“SIAP chairman Maximo Ricohermoso stressed there is a growing domestic and international markets to serve which are expected to increase the industry’s export revenues. This blooming industry is currently valued at $200 million a year,” report said. (rvo)
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