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Seaweed farmers in Puerto Princesa City received PhP3.4 million-worth of loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to help expand its seaweed production areas in Barangays Manalo, Luzviminda and Babuyan.
The loan will help the four seaweed farmers’ associations in the city’s three coastal barangays for the expansion of their seaweed production areas.
The seaweed farmers-beneficiaries were members of the Puerto Princesa and Palawan Seaweed Network formed in 2017, with members from both the government and private sectors.
The expansion of seaweed production area in Puerto Princesa is intended to address the demand of seaweeds from four supply agreements with several buyers and processors.
The said agreement was forged and formalized during the Seaweed Summit with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project.
Seaweed Network Private Sector Vice Chair Angelino Rebintiñola said that aside from the loan extended by LBP, the seaweed farmers’ cooperative based in Barangay Manalo also received an assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) worth P16 Million.
The DA-PRDP said that the “Seaweed Production and Marketing” enterprise is estimated to cost P16.16 million which will be funded by the Government, World Bank, City Government of Puerto Princesa, and the proponent group Pandan Marine Products Marketing Cooperative. It will be located in Masong Lagoon, Honda Bay, Brgy. Manalo, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and is expected to benefit the 48 household members of the proponent cooperative.
The USAID-SURGE also provided technical support to the Seaweed Network by institutionalizing its partnership with the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP), the national umbrella organization of all seaweed producers and exporters in the country.
“This resulted in market linkages with buyers and processors, turnover of farm inputs from the city government, and support agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) to 54 grower-members, and distribution of 3,000 seedlings from Danazz Resources Company to seven seaweed associations,” the city government said in a statement.
The assistance extended the USAID-SURGE to seaweed industry in the city and the province also facilitated the discussion for the possible establishment of seaweed processing plant in the city, by an investor.
“Furthermore, as a result of the USAID/SURGE-supported Puerto Princesa City Investment Forum in September, Mr. Kenny Wong of Fujian Green Power Biotechnology also coordinated with the city government for the establishment of a seaweed processing plant in the city. At present, Puerto Princesa City and the Palawan province contribute one fourth of the country’s total seaweed volume. This is expected to increase further as the city and province have additional 8,000 hectares suitable to seaweed production,” the statement further said.
USAID-SURGE continues to provide technical assistance to the seaweed industry in the areas of production and market access.