Palu, Central Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s seaweed production is still around 3.082 million tons while world demand reaches 10 million tons a year, Marine Resources and Fisheries Minister Fadel Muhammad said.
"We have been overwhelmed by seaweed demand from many places. Now demand has reached 10 million tons a year," he said when dedicating a seaweed depot in Parigi Moutong, Central Sulawesi, on Saturday.
The minister on the occasion also dedicated a seaweed plant and a fish processing plant.
Fadel said demand had increased because Indonesia had intensified seaweed production everywhere.
He said the Philippines several years ago still dominated seaweed production with its production averagely reaching two million tons a year. Now Indonesia has taken it over as the main seaweed producer with its average production increasing from only 2.574 million tons in 2009 to 3.082 million tons now.
Fadel said according to a World Bank study the best seaweed comes from Sulawesi. He said if the potential was made use of it would certainly benefit the people especially coastal communities.
"We will lose, if we do not take the benefit," he said.
Fadel said his office was now preparing 60 seaweed production clusters to meet the 10 million ton production target by 2014.
Besides increasing production, he said his office would also increase the value of seaweed by processing it into several derivative products before being sent to markets.
"Demand for seaweed is huge," he said.
Fadel said his office was now preparing the concept so that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would issue an instruction on seaweed farming development in Indonesia so that the budget for it would increase.
"I am just persuading the President to issue an instruction on seaweed farming. I am convinced if there is a presidential instruction the budget will be increased," he said.
He said he need not be ashamed to convey it for the sake of the people. He said his office now only had a budget of Rp1 trillion used directly for the people.
During his visit to Parigi Moutong, Fadel also extended Rp300 million in aid for local seaweed farmers. "If it is still short tell the local government who will later report it to me," he said. (*)