Palu, Central Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - Central Sulawesi province will turn Tolo Bay into a seaweed development center, local maritime and fisheries office spokesman Hasanuddin Atjo said here on Tuesday.
He said the center was projected to enable the province to realize its plan to increase seaweed production to 1.95 million tons by 2014.
"Tolo Bay produces around 70 percent of Central Sulawesi`s overall seaweed production of 70,000 tons," Hasanuddin Atjo said.
According to Hasanuddin, Tolo Bay would be turned into a seaweed development center in Cenral Sulawesi because the area had the superior quality of cottoni and glacilaria types of seaweed.
Therefore, Morowali district where the bay is located has a great commitment to developing the seaweed commodity for the local people`s welfare following the presence of PT Argarindo Bogatama Indonesia in its operation to cultivate gracilaria type of seaweed in the district.
"If the seaweed produced by the local farmers has met the needed economic scale, PT Argarindo will then build a seaweed processing industry there," Hasanuddin said.
To support a large scale development of seaweed at Tolo Bay, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry will allocate Rp3 billion of funds in 2011 as a working capital for the seaweed cultivators in Central Sulawesi.
In addition, State Ministry for Accelerated Development of Disadvantaged Regions will also channel Rp1.5 billion for similar purpose in the province.
Hasanuddin said that in the next five years Central Sulawesi will have a total seaweed production of about 2 million tons from 750,000 tons at present.
There are three clusters of seaweed development area in Central Sulawesi, namely Makassar Strait, Sulawesi Sea, Tomini Bay, and Tolo Bay but the latter would have a special attention.
Asked about seaweed prospect in Central Sulawesi, Hasanuddin said dried seaweed of cottoni type at present was ranging from Rp9,000 to Rp10,000 per kilogram and Gracilaria type was Rp6,000 per kilogram.