Interest drops in seaweed farming

[Fiji] The seaweed farming project initiated by the Fisheries Department in Namuka, Macuata had failed because people lost interest in the initiative forcing the department to move their focus elsewhere.

North senior fisheries officer Jovesa Naceva said other areas in the North where the projects had failed included villages in the Cakaudrove Province.

Mr Naceva said as part of seaweed farming initiatives for communal revenue generation in 2016, the department would only focus on those communities in the North that were serious with the projects.

He said they had identified new suitable cultivation locations in six areas, including Lakeba, Druadrua and Nakalou in Macuata, and Dama and Wainunu in Bua.

“There are other areas where we had initiated the project like the Namuka district in Macuata but people have really not taken ownership of these projects,” he said.

“However, since interest has dropped from these areas, we will discontinue our work with them because these projects were meant to be self-sustainable.

“We plan to focus more on those communities that have shown their interest in continuing these projects and making the most out of it.”

Mr Naceva said the department had taken the initiative down to people in rural areas and provided them with cultivation materials, and they were taught on how to better their farming techniques.

Earlier, North divisional fisheries officer Joji Vakawaletabua said the demand for seaweed was high among Asian buyers.

He said they had buyers who wanted 30,000 tonnes of seaweed, and about 300,000 tonnes on a monthly basis.

“But we can’t supply that much as yet which is why we are now focusing on bigger farms. We are working with farmers in seeing that instead of having just 3000 lines of seaweed, we will now have 20,000 lines.”


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