Bali to host international seaweed symposium
16 April 2013
The Indonesian Seaweed Association (ARLI) is scheduled to host the 21st international seaweed symposium in Bali next week when researchers, government officials and business players are expected to attend to discuss the industry.
The symposium, a triennial event organized by the International Seaweed Association (ISA), is aimed at raising awareness of the global seaweed industry and is supported by several Indonesian ministries, universities and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin).
“We expect that there will be concrete results from the symposium, either in the form of capital injection or technology and knowledge transfers,” said Yugi Prayanto, deputy chairman of Kadin for maritime and fishery affairs during a press conference on Monday.
The chairman of ARLI, Safari Azis, said at the event that the symposium was expected to promote the national seaweed industry as well as to build cooperation between government and business players.
He explained that there were around 550 types of seaweed in Indonesia but there were only three types currently cultivated, i.e. Gracilaria usually used as the ingredient of jelly and Euchema cottonii and Euchema spinosum, which are usually used to make carrageen or thickener for desserts and ice cream.
The lack of knowledge on how to cultivate seaweed and the absence of cultivating technology has been the main problem for the seaweed business in Indonesia, Safari said.
“There is great potential for seaweed in Indonesian waters but many farmers do not know how to cultivate it or the cultivating technology is not ready yet,” he said. However, he was optimistic that production would continue increasing.
Indonesia has been the second-largest producer in the world since 2008, outpacing the Philippines, which is now the third largest. China remains in the first position.
Based on the latest data from the France-based center for algal development (CEVA), Indonesia produced 1.76 million tons of fresh seaweed in 2008 while China produced 10.24 million tons.
According to figures from ARLI, Indonesia produced 180,000 tons of dried seaweed last year of which 169,000 tons were exported, a 6.3 percent increase on 2011.
“We are aiming to produce 200,000 tons of dried seaweed this year considering that a lot of areas haven’t been explored or cultivated yet,” Safari added.
A representative of the ISA, Gonzalo Soriano, said that the global market had been increasing year by year but there was still a lot of untapped potential in Indonesia as well as other countries. He said that cooperation between universities, government and business would be the key to developing the market.
According to the CEVA, world production of seaweed has been constantly increasing. It hit 10 million tons in 2000 and reached 16 million tons in 2008, most of production came from Asia.