Huge seaweed ‘demand’

[Fiji ] There is a huge demand in the seaweed industry that Fiji still cannot meet, Fisheries and Forests Minister Osea Naiqamu was told.

While making a presentation to Mr Naiqamu yesterday, North fisheries officer Joji Vakawaletabua said markets demanded 20 to 60 tonnes of seaweed per month.

Mr Vakawaletabua said at the moment they had only two tonnes of seaweed ready for export.

“The price of seaweed had dropped to 80 cents per kilogram during the past few months, but we have secured a market in Asia that wants to buy seaweed for $1.50 per kilogram,” he said.

“Therefore, farmers can then fetch $1500 from the sale of one tonne of seaweed now.

“The shipment for the current seaweed we have will be leaving our shores for overseas markets next week.”

Mr Vakawaletabua said seaweed farming was good for community-based projects as it needed community partnership for maximum production.

“We are encouraging communities to take up seaweed farming as a means of earning much needed revenue,” he said.

“The demand is present and all that is needed is people to produce and feed demands from the market.

“At the moment we are concentrating on communities that have been very productive in seaweed farming to meet the demands of the market.”

Mr Vakawaletabua said another problem that the Department of Fisheries faced in the North was the lack of project officers to monitor projects.

“The department is keen on assisting community based projects that are interested in doing seaweed farming,” he said.


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