To further improve the state of seaweed farming in Tawi-Tawi, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has vowed to provide 12 more drying facilities in the municipalities of Sibutu and Sitangkai.
On Monday, MinDA announced to have met with Tawi-Tawi provincial government officials and local chief executives of Sibutu and Sitangkai to discuss the additional units of seaweed dryers with funding support from the “Renewable Energy Technologies to Increase the Value-Added of Seaweeds in Tawi-Tawi (RETS) Project.
The RETS project is funded by the European Union under the Access to Sustainable Energy Program.
MinDA said the additional facilities will be shaped after the dome-type solar-assisted seaweed dryer developed by the Mindanao State University Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography.
Its developers said the dryers will hasten the drying period by 50 percent which will only take up around 2-3 days.
As a result, the farmers can sell the improved quality raw dried seaweeds as the dryer could continually dry even during rainy or cloudy days.
MinDA Secretary Maria Belen Sunga-Acosta has emphasized the need to support the communities of Tawi-Tawi in their seaweed production to help strengthen the economy of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“This will help the seaweed farmers as they can now sell semi-processed seaweed products instead of raw materials which have a lower value. With the help of the facility, the farmers can produce quality products which can be exported to the European countries and our neighboring Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” Sunga-Acosta said.
Earlier this year, Sunga-Acosta also bared that the 600-kilowatt (kW) solar project in Sibutu town is set to operate by November 2022.
The solar power project in the municipality aims to strengthen the economic activity, especially in the seaweed farming communities of the area.
She said the project would lead to the establishment of more processing facilities as it will reduce the expenses of the farmers and improve their income.
According to the Philippine Rural Development Program, seaweeds are now a priority commodity in Tawi-Tawi. Based on the value chain analysis, the province has a total seaweed production of 294,595 metric tons per year. (PNA)