Seaweeds farmers urged to expand farming area PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 December 2014 14:47

For local seaweeds farmers to make a dent in the market and improve their quality of living, they should increase their farm size to increase their production and meet traders’ demands, Mr. Isidro Velayo of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said.

Speaking to over 50 seaweed industry players during a strategic planning conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry-9 (DTI), Mr. Velayo said, “If our farmers only plant five to 10 lines or sell only one sack or two, these do not have value in the market. Traders won’t even bother buying your products. But it’s different when you plant 200 to 300 lines of seaweeds. You will have your volume and you can command better price for your products. This is what we call economy of sale”.

Velayo said the lack of farming size is one of the main culprits why farmers remain poor despite the vast potential of seaweeds production in the region, and the country in general.

“Have we ever wondered why typical farmers are still poor, and can only afford a hand-to-mouth standard of living? It’s because what they produce is not even enough for their needs”, he lamented.

To address this, Velayo said BFAR has laid out plans to ease the plight of the farmers and ultimately, contribute to the resurgence of the seaweeds industry in Zamboanga Peninsula.

“We at BFAR are really trying to provide support for our farmers. We extend seaweeds production support to existing farmers for farming area expansion. These include seedlings, soft tie, and floaters. Our aim is to give farmers surplus income that will uplift their quality of living”, Velayo said.

According to Velayo, farmers should always aim to expand their area since there still are vast coastal areas that can be utilized in the region.

“In Zamboanga del Norte alone, coastal area utilized for farming is only at about 10%. Our farmers should strive to expand. There are still a lot of farming areas all over the region. If you can produce one ton per harvest, that would be around P56,000 in 60 days. Now, if you can make three or four cropping per year, that would translate to around P224,000. Enough for our farmers to have a decent quality of life”, he bared.

Velayo revealed that with the bigger budget allocation for seaweeds industry, BFAR is in the position to assist farmers for expansion.

“In 2010 down, our national budget for seaweeds development is just P30 to P40 million.  But in 2011 up to present, President Aquino increased six times to P265 million. This has given our office a lot of room to help our farmers. Of course, we still need to partner with our private counterparts”, he said.

However, he again, reminded the farmers to make ensure that the quality of their products is within the standards.

“Let us not only look at the price or the money that we can earn. Before even thinking about the money, you should first make sure that your products are clean and of quality or else traders will not buy your products. Also, know what type of seaweed you are planting because not all seaweeds type has the same price, and if you know your products, then you can demand for higher price.”, he pointed. — MVC/DTI-9