New PAIR research aims to facilitate growth in South Sulawesi’s seaweed sector

Seaweed is set to play an important role in the economy of South Sulawesi, supporting small business owners and farmers as well as traders and exporters, and PAIR research teams have begun gathering information to allow for the development of this vital commodity.


This industry is hailed as being both sustainable and a vital component of the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors.

Now, the Australia-Indonesia Centre has funded a number of new projects to support and upgrade the industry. These projects will build on and complement previous Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR) and support DFAT’s Partnerships for Recovery strategy.

The research teams from Indonesian and Australian universities will gather evidence and make recommendations that can be used to help improve the livelihoods of smallholder seaweed producers, the environment and the industry overall.

Click the name of the research project below for further information:


StinaTano, CC BY-SA 3.0; via Wikimedia Commons

A supply chain ecosystem that supports sustainable development goals

This project aims to develop ‘a supply chain ecosystem’ for the South Sulawesi seaweed industry. That is, to study the movement of materials and information among supply chain members from farmers to consumers with a view to delivering efficiency and sustainability.

According to researchers, this project has several potential benefits. First, the work seeks to provide a greater understanding of the seaweed industry supply chain. It also aims to identify opportunities for the improvement of the seaweed supply chain. Finally, it looks to support economic recovery including revitalising export markets as well as supporting human capital and job creation.

This project also proposes a new seaweed supply chain structure taking advantage of the new railway line being built between Makassar and Parepare. It is being led by a team of researchers from Monash University and Universitas Hasanuddin.

Research team


Photo by Tobias Bjørkli

The policy landscape and supply chain governance of the Indonesian Seaweed industry: A focus on South Sulawesi

This project reviews policy, regulatory frameworks, and supply chain governance affecting the Indonesian seaweed industry, particularly South Sulawesi.

A better understanding of supply chain governance and policy is considered critical for the seaweed industry in ensuring the successful use of technology, innovative business models and public policy and programs.

The project focuses on key themes including sustainable and innovative seaweed farming and safe and competitive use of seaweed products.

It seeks to address regulatory barriers and issues facing the South Sulawesi seaweed industry development, including facilitating the adoption of recommendations from previous PAIR research.

Leading this project is a team from the University of Queensland and Institut Pertanian Bogor.

Research team


Photo by Nahele Campbell on Unsplash

Increasing incomes in carrageenan seaweed value chains in Takalar, South Sulawesi

This project examines prices, costs and relationships among actors in carrageenan seaweed value chains from the Takalar regency in South Sulawesi.

It will collate data on prices and costs paid at each stage of the value chain with the data to be used in a marketing margin economic analysis.

The benefits of the project are set to be in the generation of evidence to inform the development of policies to improve the incomes of seaweed farmers, collectors, and traders.

This study is a collaboration between the University of Queensland and Institut Pertanian Bogor.

Research team


Photo by Sylvain Cleymans on Unsplash

Technology to improve seaweed marketing, prices and small-holder incomes

This project examines marketing systems in South Sulawesi, particularly ways to gauge seaweed quality.

It is expected to allow producers and industry greater transparency when buying seaweed at the farmgate.

A central aim of the project is to evaluate the development of a method to measure compositional and quality parameters in seaweed using non-invasive and rapid infrared techniques.

A team from the University of Queensland and Institut Pertanian Bogor is leading this research project.

Research team


Photo by Kindel Media

Mapping and monitoring seaweed production using deep learning for the South Sulawesi seaweed industry

Developing the Indonesian seaweed industry is seen as crucial in overcoming poverty in coastal communities.

Previous PAIR research has demonstrated how satellite image dataset could contribute by enhancing current production monitoring systems.

This project expands on earlier PAIR research by refining and enhancing the satellite image processing and analysis methods to develop a well-defined seaweed production mapping and monitoring system using deep learning.

The seaweed production mapping and monitoring system are expected to create opportunities to monitor and study significant environmental and socio-economics shocks.

The final research output is an enhanced, automated but relatively low-cost image processing and analysis method that will provide reliable seaweed production status information to inform the formulation of policies, strategies, and actions within the growing industry.

Leading this project is a team from the University of Queensland and Universitas Gadjah Mada.

Research team
  • Co-leads: Dr Ammar Abdul Aziz (The University of Queensland), Dr. Pramaditya Wicaksono (Universitas Gadjah Mada)
  • Partner investigators: Dr. Sanjiwana Arjasakusuma (Universitas Gadjah Mada), Professor Scott Chapman (The University of Queensland), Dr Alexandra Langford (The University of Queensland), Dr Swaantje Grunefeld (The University of Queensland), Fathin Azizan (The University of Queensland), Amanda Maishella (Universitas Gadjah Mada)


Photo by Francesco Ungaro

End of life of plastics used in seaweed aquaculture in South Sulawesi

Seaweed farming has expanded rapidly across Indonesia during the last twenty years and while it has brought a new source of income to coastal villages, it has also created headaches in plastic waste management.

Plastic bottles provide a cheap flotation system, however they require replacing every few months due to their breaking down in the sea and potentially shedding microplastics. The plastic bottles are discarded after use, creating waste.

This project proposes to gauge the extent of microplastic contamination in farm waters and cultivated seaweeds. It will also investigate the biofouling organisms that are contributing to the degradation of plastic components of the seaweed lines. Finally, it endeavours to assess the current means of disposal of disused bottles via survey.

The project, led by a team from the University of Western Australia and Universitas Hasanuddin, seeks to trigger a policy change in terms of better plastic usage and waste management.

Research team
  • Co-leads: Dr Renae Hovey (The University of Western Australia), Dr. Shinta Werorilangi (Universitas Hasanuddin)
  • Partner investigators: Dr. Widyastuti Umar (Universitas Hasanuddin), Hendra Hasyim (Universitas Hasanuddin), Nurul Masyiah Rani Harusi (Universitas Hasanuddin), Dr Karen Filbee Dexter (The University of Western Australia), Dr Alexandra Langford (The University of Queensland)


ANTARA FOTO/Yusran Uccang/ss/aww/15

Examining the potential Indonesia – Australia partnership for growth opportunities of the seaweed industry in Indonesia

This project aims to study future growth areas within the seaweed industry that have the potential to deliver important business partnerships between Australia and Indonesia.

Key factors will be identified that can serve as catalysts or barriers in building the partnerships, as well as the role of government policies from both nations in supporting bilateral trade and collaborations.

This project has particular potential benefits in terms of understanding opportunities for seaweed industry growth through partnerships with Australian businesses that could support human capital and job creation in the designated area. This is aligned with one of the key objectives of DFAT’s Partnership for Recovery.

More than a million people on the Indonesian coast are said to rely on income from seaweed farming and the national government has recognised the seaweed industry for its potential to overcome poverty, something noted in this project.

This project, led by a team from Monash University and Universitas Hasanuddin, is also expected to contribute to a stronger relationship between Indonesia and Australia overall.

Research team
Picture of David Sexton

Digital Communications Coordinator
The Australia-Indonesia Centre

Picture of Marlene Millott

PAIR Program Officer
The Australia-Indonesia Centre

Picture of Steve Wright

Senior Communications Coordinator
The Australia-Indonesia Centre