Indigenous seaweeds drying system: (Top) Floating-type seaweed drying system which uses a drum floatation device, and permanent-type seaweed drying system
(Photos from Marine Resources Research Division (MRRD), PCAARRD)
By Alithea De Jesus
In the desire of the government to help the seaweed farmers in Zambonga Del Sur, the Department of Science and Technology Region IX (DOST-IX) extended a grant worth ₱700,000.00 to the Bomba and Baroy Seaweeds Farmers Association, composed of two groups of seaweed farmers in the coastal communities of the Municipality of Dumalinao and Pagadian City in Zamboanga Del Sur.
Provincial Gov. Victor J. Yu, turned over of the cheque to Bomba and Baroy Seaweeds Farmers Association
Photo from DOST Region IX
The project entitled “Province-Wide Technology Adoption of DOST-Funded Greenhouse Permanent/Floating Type Seaweed Dryer with Foldable Siding for the Seaweed Farmers” is being implemented through its Provincial S&T Center (PSTC) of Zamboanga Del Sur with the assistance of the Provincial Government of Zamboanga del Sur, headed by Hon. Victor J. Yu.
With this financial assistance extended, the association was able to acquire the permanent seaweed dryers that are expected to yield better quality and higher valued dried seaweeds that will benefit 150 local seaweed farmers. Both groups cultivate Kappaphycus alvarezii (cottonii type) locally known as “guso” or “agar-agar”.
Region 9 is one of the top producers of seaweeds in the country. The said Grant-In-Aid program is in collaboration with the University of the Philippines – Los Banos (UPLB) – Center of Agri-Fisheries and Biosystems Mechanization (BIOMECH).
While the innovative design of the seaweed dryer was done under the leadership of Dr. Ronel S. Pangan of UPLB-BIOMECH that is designed to suit the variable environmental conditions of different seaweed culture sites in the country.
Interestingly, the use of this drying technology ensures higher efficacy of drying and secures freshly harvested seaweeds from abrupt weather changes, ultimately improving the quality of dried seaweeds as compared to conventional seaweed drying practices.