Sunday, August 01, 2010

MCPI conducts training on seaweed farming to Bohol, Cebu fisherfolk

MCPI conducts training on seaweed farming to Bohol, Cebu fisherfolk
August 1, 2010
The Freeman-Region

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

As such, 24 fishermen of the SECAFEE Integrated Cooperative underwent a three-day training on integrated seaweeds farming recently at MCPI's Ocean Farming and Research Center in Danajon Reef, Bien Unido town of 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, Cebu and Guindacpan and Calituban towns in Bohol.

German Consultant for SCOPE Janina Wohlgemuth explains: “The goal of the project is to generate a long-term alternative source of income for the people in those three towns.  Most of them are fisherfolk and with decreasing fishing yields, they are finding it harder and harder to provide for their families.”

The project also aims to establish cooperation between the farmers and MCPI Corporation 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.”

Seaweed has become one of the most sought-after products in the market mostly for its extract, carageenan, which is mainly used in the food processing industry. Currently, MCPI imports high quantities of seaweed from Malaysia and Indonesia to meet its demand.

The training conducted by MCPI and BFAR taught fishermen basic fishery laws and the economics of seaweed production and market prospects of the seaweed industry. 

“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,” says Leo Escala, chairman of the cooperative.

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.

“We at DED will continue to accompany the cooperation between MCPI and SECAFEE to ensure that all parties fulfill what they committed so that the project becomes a success,” Wohlgemuth adds. (PR)