Jakarta (ANTARA) - The marine sector of Southeast Sulawesi's Wakatobi District wields highly potential commodities, including seaweed, as its featured product that can support national downstreaming efforts, Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Teten Masduki stated.

"Indonesia is still importing a large amount of wheat. In fact, research shows that 30 percent of wheat can be substituted by seaweed. By optimizing its potential, Wakatobi can be the world's number one seaweed producer," he remarked as quoted from a statement received in Jakarta on Friday.

Minister Masduki made the statement while opening an exhibition of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the 2023 Wakatobi Wonderful Festival and Expo (Wakatobi WAVE) on Thursday (November 2).

In his speech, the minister noted that the global seaweed industry is expected to grow 10.5 percent annually, with its value reaching US$48 billion in 2030.

Meanwhile, he said, Indonesia has become the world's second-largest seaweed producer that contributes 27.86 percent to the total of 35.8 million tons of the world's seaweed production. However, 65 percent of Indonesia's exported seaweed is still in the form of raw or unprocessed products, he remarked.

He then observed that seaweed is a potential commodity that can be processed into raw materials for industries, including pharmacy and cosmetics.

"In this context, President Joko Widodo, in his concept of industrialization, has been striving to involve cooperatives and MSME actors in the hopes of distributing economic benefits not only to major business players but also to cooperatives and MSMEs," he stated.

The minister then expressed hope that the 2023 Wakatobi WAVE would drive all parties, especially the Wakatobi Government, to assist Indonesian MSMEs to become part of the world's supply chain.

On the same occasion, Head of Wakatobi District, Haliana, highlighted that based on data from the district's Cooperatives and Manpower Office, as many as 32,321 MSMEs have been operating in Wakatobi.

He also expressed hope that Wakatobi WAVE, as an event held annually in Wakatobi, would serve as proof of the government's support for MSME actors.

WAVE has been helping MSMEs promote their products, providing them with relevant information and encouraging them to collaborate to develop their businesses, he stated.

Related news: Mataram University students develop hybrid electrical seaweed dryer
Related news: Blue economy approach must become mainstay of development: minister

Translator: Kuntum Khaira, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
Copyright © ANTARA 2023