PRIMARILY for the development of the seaweed industry, the Central Visayas Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (CVAARRDEC) conducted its first Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA).
The two-day Seaweed FIESTA is expected to contribute in transforming the seaweed industry into a sustainable enterprise that would enhance the economic status of the seaweed farmers – particularly in Region 7.
FIESTA is an event-based technology transfer modality of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) which aims to promote science and technology and its products towards providing competitive and profitable business ventures for the micro, small, and medium enterprises in the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources sectors of the country.
As in other FIESTAs, the event aimed to provide a venue for the discussion of new opportunities, challenges/issues in the seaweeds’ supply chain.
With the theme “CVAARRDEC: Moving towards Seaweed Industry Transformation in Region 7,” the event was held in Tagbilaran City where exhibits, lectures, farmers forum, business matching, and other ancillary activities were part of the two-day event.
Since seaweed is among the great resources for the people of Region 7, there is an urgent need to provide the industry with the right technologies which will benefit the seaweed farmers and entrepreneurs.
The technology forum tackled seaweed health management, organic liquid fertilizer from seaweed extract, and radiation-modified Kappa-Carrageenan as foliar fertilizer.
Other seaweed production and processing-related concerns were also tackled, which included Caulerpa spp “Lato” production, good management practices in seaweed farming, and seaweeds processing.
As a newly revived consortium for research, development and extension, CVAARRDEC is currently chaired by the Bohol Island State University.
The Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP), Seaweed Farmers Associations/ Cooperatives, and consortium member agencies collaborated for the conduct of the activity, where Ronald S. Simbajon, SIAP Director, served as the keynote speaker.
The conduct of the activity was prompted by the fact that the Philippines was once the world’s top producer of seaweeds, however, Indonesia dislodged the country as the top producer since 2008.
To address the decline, PCAARRD initiated the Seaweed Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP).
“Through S&T, we would like to improve seaweed productivity as well as the income of the seaweed farmers,” said Dr. Edwin C. Villar, acting Deputy Executive Director for R&D of PCAARRD in his message at the event.
Villar pointed out that the program was able to develop various technologies and innovations on seaweeds. But the challenge is to bring these breakthroughs to seaweed farmers and producers.
Through the holding of the event, Villar extended the Council’s pride in partnering with CVAARRDEC and its collaborators in their effort to promote and commercialize technologies and innovations on seaweeds, which will contribute to the economic development in Region 7.
Villar hopes that the activity would contribute in transforming the seaweed industry into a sustainable enterprise to help enhance the economic standing of seaweed farmers in the region and beyond./PN