Surigao Sur seaweed farmers reaping benefits from govt project

Surigao Sur seaweed farmers reaping benefits from govt project

BUTUAN CITY — Seaweed farmers in the Surigao del Sur town of Hinatuan are now reaping the benefits of government intervention through the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP).

Among those who benefited from the initiative are members of the People Unite to Guard Aqua Marine Wealth, Incorporation (PUGAW, Inc.), a people’s organization based in Barangay Loyola, Hinatuan.

Raynita Solomon, a member of the PUGAW board of directors, noted that before the government intervention, their desire for increased seaweed production was hindered by the lack of access to needed materials.

 “The materials necessary for our production were supplemented by the DA-PRDP. Their interventions have resulted in more development for seaweed farmers in PUGAW,” Solomon said in a statement Wednesday.

 She said her family has been benefiting from the project through increased income from seaweed production.

 The intervention of the DA-PRDP to PUGAW, Inc. started in December 2022 when the organization received 45 cultivating lines.

Aside from the cultivating lines, the organization also obtained implements and inputs from the DA-PRDP in the form of propagules, polyethylene ropes, soft ties, and financial assistance worth PHP1.1 million.
“Seaweed farming before could not sustain the needs of our families but with the support of the DA-PRDP, we were able to increase our production and sustain the demands for seaweeds in the market,” said Bonifacio Bughao, the PUGAW manager.
In the past, he said the organization could only manage to earn around PHP73,000 in annual income.
“(However), with the support of the DA-PRDP, we were able to increase our income from seaweed production. In February 2023 alone, our earnings increased to PHP553,450,” Bughao said.
The DA-PRDP also provided the organization with additional support worth PHP10.5 million in the form of heavy-duty weighing scales, a refractometer, and a three-wheel cargo vehicle to assist them in the transportation of their raw dried seaweeds.
DA-13, meanwhile, said that the organization is also seeking new expansion opportunities.
“They begin to explore the possibilities in value-adding processes for their seaweeds, including the raw dried seaweeds into seaweed noodles, crackers, and cakes,” the agency said. (PNA)

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