Last Updated on
Prof. Floredel D. Galon, a marine biologist of Palawan State University (PSU) and her team, through the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), came up with an innovation to benefit Palawan’s seaweeds farmers and the seaweeds industry.
The project, assisted by the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), developed the Mechanical Seaweed harvester and Seaweed Seaweed planting table with tie-line straw inserter to help the seaweed farmer to mechanized their operations thus saving them time in harvesting seaweeds and other process.
The harvester is driven by a gasoline engine that allows the spooler to rotate. It is also equipped with a pulley and belt to regulate the spooler’s speed. The spooler pulls the seaweed tie line which passes through a circular blade that cuts and separates the seaweed from the tie-line.
The harvester is five times more efficient than the traditional practice of harvesting manually the seaweeds from the farm sites.
The seaweed mechanical planting table with tie-line straw inserter uses a foot operated pedal. The machine can insert 15 straws per minute.
The two machines were presented during the 3-day Palawan Seaweeds Industry Summit in May 2019 of the Seaweeds Network, spearheaded by the City Government of Puerto Princesa City through the City Agriculture’s Office with the support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Prof. Galon said that the seaweed is the major export aquaculture fishery commodity in the country that translates into P60 billion annually. Palawan. On the other hand, being the largest seaweed producer in the country accounts 30 percent of the national production. This is equivalent to P20 billion to 25 billion annually.
She said that one of the major problems confronting the seaweed farmers in Palawan is the unavailability of supply of seed stocks as there is no regular supplier of seaweeds planting materials.
“What if seaweeds farm is totally damaged by typhoon or disease?” she asked.
As part of their project, they established a seedbank repository of different seaweeds cultivar and a fast growing cultivar.
“The seaweed culture laboratory’s operation cost some P2.9 million per year,” Prof. Galon said.