PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Palawan remains to be the number one seaweed producing province in the country according to the CountrySTAT Philippines data of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).
The province’s seaweed production continues to surge with harvest of 456,145.60 metric tons in 2010, slightly higher than its 2009 production of 447,752.74 MT.
The second largest seaweed producing province is Tawi-Tawi with 376,270.72 MT in 2010, which produced 386,648.56 MT the previous year. Third is Sulu province with 217,376.59 MT production in 2010.
In terms of regional production, the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which includes the provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur, still tops production with total 686,397.45 MT seaweeds produced in 2010. MIMAROPA region is second with an aggregate production of 461,159.92 MT of which 98.9 percent came from Palawan.
There are approximately 8,500 hectares of seaweeds plantation in Palawan farmed by about 7,500 seaweed farmers in 22 municipalities. Most of the Palawan seaweeds come from the island municipalities of Cagayancillo, Agutaya and Balabac.
Raw and dried seaweeds are sold by buyers mostly from Cebu where these are processed to carageenan or kelp powder.
Seaweeds farming is a low cost and labor intensive business venture and is a viable supplemental source of livelihood for the country’s marginalized fishermen. Local governments are promoting seaweeds farming both as a means of sustainable livelihood and to deter destructive fishing methods.