KATADATA - The government is trying to boost the domestic seaweed industry because Indonesia is actually known as the world’s largest seaweed producer. 64 percent of the domestic raw production is exported, even though the domestic needs for seaweed increases, which can be seen by the growth of import by 35 percent in 2013.
And because of that, President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo has ordered the Maritime and Fisheries Minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, to boost the seaweed industry development. And to follow it up, Susi has increased the budget allocation to cultivate seaweed eight times the usual amount to become IDR 330 billion in 2016. The budget will be used to build warehouses and factories. Besides that, the budget will also be used to spread good quality seeds and to increase the amount of production.
And through a number of programs to develop the seaweed industry, the ministry has set a target for the production of seaweed next year in the amount of 11.1 million tons in order to fulfill the domestic industry needs.
There are at least three reasons that the government has to boost the performance in that particular industry. First, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, that this country has very large potential areas for the seaweed industry development. Out of the existing millions of hectares that Indonesia has, the seaweed cultivation has only taken up to 350,000 hectares.
Second, there are 555 types of seaweed in Indonesia. But, only three types of seaweed that are cultivated in this country, which are the Gracilaria (for jelly and is cultivated in brackish water), Eucheuma Cottonii, and Eucheuma Spinosum (for carrageenan and are cultivated in coastal areas).
Third, the improvement in seaweed industry will be able to increase the welfare of the people who live in the coastal areas, especially for the ones who usually cultivate them and for the seaweed farmers.