The P18.5-million initiative dubbed as the Guimaras Seaweed Production and Marketing Project, aims to improve the quality of life of 1,259 fisherfolks from the island province.
The PRDP-assistance, according to May Ann Grajo, I-REAP component head of PRDP-RPCO-VI will come in production, postharvest and marketing packages, with World Bank shouldering the bulk of the cost.
With the World Bank providing P8,886,232.80, in funds the national government and the provincial government of Guimaras will each shell out P2,962,077.60, while a proponent equity amounting to P3,702,597.00 will come from the Sabang Seaweed Growers Association (SSGA), the project’s lead proponent.
Ms Grajo added that the project will generate additional employment for the women and out of school youth and ensure sustainability of volume and quality of production.
Guimaras is the second seaweed producer of Western Visayas next to Antique and has many potential areas for expansion considering that it is situated between the islands of Panay and Negros.
“This will definitely boost the local industry especially because seaweeds is easy to culture, has a big market potential and the SSGA has shown active participation,” said Ronnie Morante, Provincial Agriculturist of Guimaras.
Mr Morante added that members of SSGA have undergone training and capability-building on management, marketing and production technology, stressing that each one was required to develop a 1,000sq.m. production area.
The involvement of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) was also encouraged in order to access new variety of planting materials that is resistant of pest and diseases, can adapt to the shallow method of propagation and environment.