Still, it is important to pay attention to environmental issues.
Kebumen, C Java (ANTARA) - The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) Ministry is planning to run a pilot project for modern seaweed aquaculture in Wakatobi district, Southeast Sulawesi Province, and Southeast Maluku District in Maluku Province.

"However, we will build one in Wakatobi district, because the regional head (of the district) was the quickest to respond (to the plan)," Director General of Aquaculture at the ministry, T.B. Haeru Rahayu, said at the Area-Based Shrimp Cultivation Ponds (BUBK) here on Friday.

The cultivation of seaweed in Wakatobi district will pay attention to environmental sustainability by not using plastic rope to tie the seaweed, but coconut shells to minimize the potential of microplastic pollution in the waters.

"However, economically, this (the cost of developing the seaweed farming area) is expensive,” he said.

For instance, it costs Rp500 per plastic rope, while the price of coconut shells is Rp2,500 each, he expounded.

“The cost is still quite high. Thus, we are still looking for a cheaper way (to run the aquaculture facility). Still, it is important to pay attention to environmental issues," he said.

The cultivation program aims to improve Indonesia’s production of seaweed, which is still lower than the production of China, Rahayu noted.

Furthermore, he pointed out that there are a number of obstacles in implementing seaweed farming in Indonesia, one of which is the inadequate quality of the seedlings used by the farmers, which makes the seedlings susceptible to disease.

However, he said that currently, the problem has been resolved by using tissue culture technology to get quality seedlings.

Another obstacle is that the commodity is sold as a raw material, which has no value-added, the director general added.

He noted that 60–70 percent of the seaweed sold is unprocessed.

Thus, his party needs off-takers to absorb the commodity and develop a factory to process it.

"In the downstream sector (of seaweed cultivation), we need an off-taker who wants to buy and build a factory, hence the commodity will not be sold as dry raw seaweed but at least it will be processed into ATC (Alkali Treated Cottonii/Seaweed Chip)," Rahayu said.

Thus, it is expected that Indonesia will manufacture more seaweed-derived cosmetic and pharmaceutical products in the future, he added. (INE)


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Translator: Sinta Ambarwati, Uyu Liman
Editor: Atman Ahdiat
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