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By: John Maico M. Hernandez

WAWA, NASUGBU, BATANGAS – To increase productivity of seaweed chips and impart new knowledge on processing additional profit-generating seaweeds-based products to GK San Francisco Javier People’s Organization, DOST Batangas, in partnership with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) CALABARZON, PUSOD Inc. and with the local government of Nasugbu, conducted a training on Seaweeds Processing with Awareness-Seminar on Basic Food Hygiene and on current Good Manufacturing Practices, April 4-5.

According to BFAR, seaweed is an important component of the marine ecosystem along with the mangrove and coral reefs and can be viewed in two perspectives, from its ecological value as well as its economic uses. It contributed about 34% to the total 2008 fisheries production, with Regions IV-B, IX and ARMM as major producers. The steady increase in production for the past five (5) years (2004-2008) can be attributed to high market demand, better price and good weather condition that encourage farmers to expand their areas for seaweed culture.

Seaweed industry employs between 100,000-120,000 manpower where 90% are seaweed farmers and the rest are seaweed processors and traders. One of these processors is the GK San Francisco Javier People’s Organization of Brgy. Wawa, Palaculan, Nasugbu, Batangas. They are currently engaged in seaweed chips production which really helped each member in having alternative source of income and they started this since 2005.

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DOST Batangas, BFAR CALABARZON and PUSOD, Inc. aimed to increase the productivity of GK San Francisco Javier People’s Organization through adoption of appropriate technologies that would help provide its members additional profit-generating seaweeds-based products other than seaweed chips. Recipes on processing pickled seaweeds, seaweeds noodles, seaweed crackers, seaweed shing-a-ling and seaweed puto were discussed and demonstrated to participants. Health benefits of seaweed was also discussed in conjunction with the basic food hygiene and good manufacturing practices. Issues on product packaging and labelling, costing and use of equipment provided by DOST Batangas were also addressed.

Ms. Marilou Mosqueda, Aqua II of BFAR CALABARZON, served as the trainer during the training assisted by Ms. Erica Lopez, BFAR Technical Staff and DOST Batangas staff, John Maico Hernandez, Project Assistant II.