RP Energy, BFAR launch Subic seaweed project
Posted 4 years ago
By Butch Gunio
Photo credit: headlinezambales.wordpress.com
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources have launched a seaweed farming project to benefit villagers in Subic, Zambales.
A memorandum of understanding was recently signed here by RP Energy, BFAR Region 3, Subic Bay Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Fisherfolk Association (SBIFARMFA), and the Farm Capital Corporation.
Based on the MOU, two pilot seaweed nurseries in Barangays Cawag and Matain will be set up, which will later be expanded into seaweed farms.
RP Energy will facilitate the establishment of the seaweed nurseries and initiate the social preparation and coordination to two beneficiary organizations Parola Fisherfolk Neighborhood Association and Samahan at Ugnayan ng Mangingisda sa Matain.
SBIFARMA and Farm Capital Corporation’s Weedera brand surveyed locations for the nurseries.
BFAR will take charge of monitoring the nurseries, providing technical assistance, and training members of the beneficiary groups.
Weedera, which currently exports seaweeds to various countries such as Japan, China, and Taiwan, will purchase the seaweeds from the organizations at competitive price.
“This project is very promising, as we have started with the market of the product, something that is usually last to be figured out in other livelihood projects,” said Litz Manuel-Santana, VP and Head of External Affairs of Meralco PowerGen, the majority owner of RP Energy.
RP Energy’s CSR Officer Jason Gavina said that the project is already viable since there is an identified buyer of the produce, which ensures the sustainability and profitability of the livelihood project.
“Our aim is to develop a market-based livelihood program for our beneficiaries and so we partnered with Weedera, a private corporation based in Iloilo, which will be buying all the produce,” Gavina said.
“This is complemented by the technical know-how of our BFAR experts who will assist the groups in setting up the nurseries,” he added.
For his part, Weedera President Neil Huele said, “There is a huge demand for seaweed, especially in Taiwan, China and Japan. In fact, not many Filipinos know that Philippines is the third largest producer of seaweed in the world.”