Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry is supporting investment in seaweed businesses in Southeast Sulawesi's Wakatobi district by pursuing a model project that integrates ecosystems ranging from the upstream to downstream.

The support for downstreaming includes good post-harvest handling, modernization of drying facilities, packaging, market arrangement, and allocation of relevant facilities—all of which are expected to lead to better dry seaweed products that meet the industry standard.

"We are also making efforts to attract investment for the seaweed processing industry in Wakatobi district," director general of marine and fish product competitiveness at the ministry, Budi Sulistiyo, said in an official statement released here on Friday.

Wakatobi is one of the select few areas in Southeast Sulawesi that have great potential in seaweed production; in 2022, the production of dry seaweed in the district was recorded at 3,951 tons.

Other areas with similar potential comprise Wangi-Wangi Island, Kaledupa, and Tomia, he added.

Director for business and investment at the ministry's directorate general, Catur Sarwanto, stressed that the commodity can be processed into many products with added value and a high economic price.

"Seaweed's derivative products can be made into food and non-food products, such as food for farm animals/fish, fertilizers, cosmetics, and also pharmacy (products)," he explained.

The head of Wakatobi district, Haliana, also said that the area has the basic infrastructure required to establish the model in question, such as power supply, access to clean water, road, and two ports — Panggulubelo and Wanci.

Matohara Airport can serve Wakatobi business players' need for accessibility, he added.

An incentive is also being provided for investment to make it more appealing and comfortable for investors, he added.

"Referring to Government Regulation Number 78 of 2019 and Presidential Regulation Number 49 of 2021, there is a facility in the form of tax allowance for the seaweed processing industry. And then Government Regulation Number 49 of 2022 gives amnesty on value-added tax for seaweed businesspeople," he said.

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Translator: Sinta Ambarwati, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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