Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cebu, Bohol fisherfolk undergo training on seaweeds farming

Cebu, Bohol fisherfolk undergo training on seaweeds farming  
Cebu Daily News
August 14, 2010

The MCPI Corp. is helping more fishermen tap other areas of lucrative marine market by teaching them how to produce high-quality seaweeds.

Some 24 fishermen of the SECAFEE Integrated Development Cooperative underwent a three-day training on integrated seaweeds farming recently at MCPI's Ocean Farming and Research Center in Danajon Reef, Bien Unido, Bohol.

The project is in partnership with the German Development Service/Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). It is sponsored by MCPI, BFAR and DED's Strategic Corporate-Community Partnerships for Social Progress (SCOPE) program, which runs for two years. The training was provided for the fishermen and farmers of Dalaguete town, southern Cebu and Guindacpan and Calituban, Bohol.

German consultant for SCOPE Janina Wohlgemuth said, “The goal of the project is to generate a long-term alternative source of income for the people in those three towns.”

The project also aims to establish cooperation between the farmers and MCPI in the long run, so that the farmers will have a secure market for the seaweed they are going to plant.

Wohlgemuth added, “An additional outcome of the training is the protection of the environment. It discourages dynamite and cyanide fishing present in the area as these fishing practices also affect the seaweed farms. Additionally, the seaweed farms serve as a habitat for many marine species.”

The training, which was conducted by MCPI and BFAR, taught fishermen basic fishery laws and the economics of seaweed production and market prospects of the seaweed industry. Hands-on training on setting up a seaweed farm and on treating diseases infecting seaweeds was also provided.

“We are very thankful for the training because we have learned how to manage and take care of the seaweeds technically. Though most of us already know how to plant the seaweeds, we still lack the knowledge on certain technical aspects like disease prevention and the proper harvesting and drying of seaweeds,” SECAFEE cooperative chairman Leo Escala said.

MCPI and DED will further assist the fisherfolk in setting up a 2.5-hectare seaweed farm which will expand to eight hectares after three planting cycles.

Some of the harvested seaweeds will be given to the Dalaguete farmers and other PBSP-supported farmers in Bohol so they can start their farms in the next planting cycle. A second part of the harvested seaweeds will be used to grow the farm in Guindacpan and the rest will be sold to MCPI.