Seaweed, bamboo industries seek greater gov’t budget | Inquirer Business

Seaweed, bamboo industries seek greater gov’t budget

/ 02:02 AM September 03, 2022

Groups are asking the government to increase its annual budget for both seaweed and bamboo industries to spur the development of both sectors.

Seaweeds Industry Association of the Philippines chair Alfredo Pedrosa III said that restoring the original budget to P250 million “will go a long way” in scaling up the seaweed industry and improving the livelihood of its producers.


For his part, Philippine Bamboo Foundation Inc. president Edgardo Manda said setting aside at least P2 billion will enable the bamboo industry to construct flooding materials, develop commercial bamboo plantations and enhance the livelihood of local farmers.

Pedrosa told reporters the budget allocation for the industry in the past years has declined to P47 million in 2022 from P138 million in 2018.


“We are facing the prospect of a lower budget,” he said.

Despite the absence of government support, the seaweed industry managed to raise $209.6 million in revenues from exporting the commodity to various international markets including Europe, the United States and China.

Pedrosa said the seaweed industry can earn $250 million—and eventually hit the $500-million mark—with greater budgetary support.

“In terms of production, we can double that. We’re earning $200 million to $250 million a year. Easily, we could achieve that production,” said Pedrosa.

Diminishing outputs

In 2021, seaweed output decreased by 8.5 percent to 1.3 million metric tons from 1.5 million MT a year ago, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed. Total seaweed harvests account for 31.6 percent of the total fisheries production.

Aside from meeting the increasing global demand, Pedrosa also said seaweed can help address fertilizer and feeds issues because the commodity is rich in nutrients that contribute to soil fertility such as potassium, nitrogen and calcium.

“We can increase the industry’s income. Our conservative estimate is that we can make the seaweed industry a half-a-billion-dollar industry,” he said mostly in Filipino.


The current global seaweed industry churns out 12 million MT annually, equivalent to $6 billion, based on The Global Status of Seaweed Production, Trade and Utilization report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Similar to seaweed, Manda said investments in the bamboo industry are driven by the private sector.

To help realize its full potential, P88.40 million in investments were poured into the bamboo industry last year, according to the Department of Trade and Industry,

Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. president Danilo Fausto said since bamboo was declared a high-value crop, this particular commodity is entitled to receive a higher allocation from the government.

To recall, in 2020, the Department of Agriculture made this policy pronouncement to further promote the bamboo industry.

The Philippines is the fifth largest bamboo and rattan product exporter worldwide. It has 62 bamboo species available, of which 21 are endemic and 41 were introduced from overseas.

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