Bali, Indonesia, Apr 22, 2013 -- (ACN Newswire) -- Inaugurating the 21st International Seaweed Symposium (ISS) in Bali on April 22, the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Sharif C. Sutardjo, delivered the policy keynote address in which he elucidated the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) program towards the sector which recognizes how the seaweed downstream program has an absolute positive impact on the sector.
Structural reinforcement, investment and value increase, and expansion of employment opportunity within the sector are all tangible proof of the program. In addition, the program also fully supports the availability of seaweed in the domestic market as well as enhancing exports of seaweed processed products.
Thus far in 2013, the program has experienced success in attracting investors, having so far have gathered four companies for the total investment of Rp. 165 billion. To date, this investment has already been distributed across 643 employers.
The seaweed downstream policy undertaken by MMAF accommodates increasing seaweed production. In addition, the program enhances the value add of the processing sector, so that seaweed won't be exported in a form of unprocessed dry seaweed. The seaweed program generally has high comparative advantage, as Indonesia has an abundant and derivative seaweed resource.
Seaweed industrialization is not limited to increases in national income, but also opens many employment opportunities. Industrialization also plays a strategic role, where this sector is related to the other sectors, both the back-end and the front-end business.
"As a raw material, seaweed can be processed into 500 end products. The demand of this commodity is very high across many industries, both in foods and non-food industries," Sharif stated.
Sharif said that the Fisheries industrialization program has positioned seaweed as a strategic commodity. To support the program, MMAF set seaweed production at 7,5 million tonnes in 2013, an increase of 30% compared to last year's 5,2 million tones. In 2014, MMAF aims to produce the seaweed at 10 million tonnes.
In realizing this, downstream development is a strategy in increasing value. "MMAF has targeted 2013's domestic processed seaweed production at 205,000 tonnes. Production includes ATC (Alkali Treated Carrageenan), SRC (Semi Refine Carrageenan), RC (Refine Carrageena), jelly, Aginat, or other processed products," explained Sharif.
In Line with the Blue Economy
As delivered in the Symposium, Indonesia has a vast potential in seaweed, with the total area of 1,110,900 ha. The germplasm of the Indonesian seaweed bed spans 555 varieties, or 45% of the world's entire seaweed variety, including Glacilaria, Gelidium, Eucheuma, Hypnea, Sargassum and Turbinaria.
An advantage of seaweed cultivation is that it can be harvested in as few as 45 days. In Indonesia, seaweed can even be cultivated throughout the year. With such a potent sector and climate, the role of scientists and researchers becomes crucial to the development of the seaweed business.
"Scientists and researchers have a direct role, ranging from the seeding, cultivation, post-harvest management and seaweed processing, to the formulation industry and the derivate end product," said Sharif.
Seaweed, as one of the main industrial marine and fishery commodities, is in line with the Blue Economy model, where seaweed investment and business are advantageous, both to the environment and the community. The seaweed business, both cultivation and processing, meets the requirements of the Blue Economy.
The business has a high revenue and an extensive open business development model, as it is raw material and energy efficient, as well as having a high derivative line product value.
In addition, seaweed business is a zero waste industry. "Essentially, the seaweed business will enhance the revenue of the local community and is an environmentally friendly industry, making it one of the most efficient industries today," said Sharif.
Director General of the Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing, Saut P. Hutagalung, added the 21st International Seaweed Symposium (ISS) which will be held on April 22-26, with the theme "Seaweed Science for Sustainable Prosperity", is expected to open ways to develop the science in the seaweed business so that it can give sustainable prosperity to the world's community.
The Symposium, held for the first time in Indonesia, plays a strategic role for seaweed production, which has increased rapidly in past years. The Symposium gathers all seaweed-related experts, practitioners, and key industry players to discuss current issues and share information and insights.
Mr. Hutagalung highlighted the success of technology development. "The Symposium also serves to bridge the producers, buyers, and investors, both domestic and foreign. The event also promotes many kinds of seaweed processed products and technologies as well as popularizing seaweed consumption."
The ISS will be attended by 513 participants from 50 countries. Beside the main "Symposium", the event includes an Exhibition, a "Seaweed Consumption Campaign", and a World Carrageenan Meeting. It will also feature presentations from many renowned scientists, academics, business owners and players, and government officials.
"This international-grade event will be a strategic arena as well as a milestone for Indonesia in leading the world's seaweed industry in order to enhance the productivity, eficiency, and value of the seaweed products through the integration of the upstream and the downstream establishment," says Hutagalung.
For more information, please contact:
Indra Sakti, SE, MM.
Head of Statistic and Information Center,
The Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries Affairs,
Republic of Indonesia