Policy brief: Sustainable upgrading of the South Sulawesi seaweed industry
The development of the seaweed industry is being prioritised by central, provincial, and local levels of Indonesian governments. This makes sense as the nation is the world’s largest producer of carrageenan seaweeds and income from it contributes to the livelihoods of at least 66,000 households.
The industry has grown through the initiative and entrepreneurship of those involved and our research shows that many aspects – production, processing, trade and investment- are changing and primed for policy support or improved programs.
This research focussed on seaweeds used for carrageenan and their use as a gelling or thickening agent in food processing and other applications. It covers the province of South Sulawesi which produces more than a third of the nation’s seaweed. And the research and recommendations are primarily aimed at small-holder farmers.
Indonesia is in a strong position to capitalise on its competitive advantages in the seaweed production sector. Success is dependent on its ability to navigate current challenges and in this brief we outline the mix of elements needed to create an innovative and sustainable seaweed industry.
Photo at top: Spreading seaweed out to dry on a platform in Laikang bay (photo by Dr Alexandra Langford)