Seaweed industry body proposed in Bangsamoro
DAVAO CITY –– A legislator in the Bangsamoro has proposed the creation of a body that will focus on the development of the seaweed industry, which generates at least P4 billion a year for the regional economy.
Amilbahar S. Mawallil, a member of the Bangsamoro Parliament, filed a bill before the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) calling for the creation of the Seaweed Industry Development Act (SIDA) to develop the seaweed industry, considered vital in the region’s economic growth.
“We know that there is an ongoing health crisis brought by the pandemic, but it is also important to note that we should not waste time,” Mawallil said in a statement.
“We need to craft economic policies that will help spur the region’s economic growth and generate employment,” he added.
The bill, filed on March 3, would still be deliberated on by BTA members, Mawallil told the Inquirer.
Records from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that the region harvested 696,765.74 metric tons of seaweeds with a market value of about P4 billion in 2019.
Seaweed production in the Bangsamoro made up about 43 percent of the Philippines’ total seaweed production for that year.
The proposed SIDA will govern the industry, with the main office to be set up in Tawi-Tawi, the top seaweed-producing province in the Bangsamoro.
SIDA will also serve as the key government agency to draft programs and policies to develop the industry and craft mechanisms to help those whose livelihood relies on it.
The creation of the seaweed industry development body has long been awaited. Seaweed producers in the region sell their raw materials at very low prices through middlemen even when the commodity commands a higher price in the market, particularly in countries that import it.
Government data show that local seaweeds had reached Mexico, Australia, Russia, Indonesia, South Korea, Argentina, Vietnam, UAE, Chile, Malaysia, and Thailand through middle buyers based outside the region.
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