Tuesday, 13 September 2011 12:18
Various seaweed industry stakeholders from provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) gathered here yesterday to participate the one-day 1st ARMM Seaweeds Congress held at Grand Astoria Hotel in this city.
The congress with the theme "Setting Grounds for Harnessing ARMM's Seaweeds Potentials" was the first of its kind in the ARMM regional government conducted with the various stakeholders of the seaweed industry.
In his opening remarks, ARMM Exec. Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo said that such an assembly, made of the various stakeholders, truly gives them inspiration to exert their best efforts towards becoming a major player in this booming agricultural enterprise.
"We have no doubt that seaweed production gives one ray of hope to farmers in this part of the country. With aquaculture resources of immense size, the ARMM offers prospects for more cultivation, expansion and processing of seaweeds," he added.
Truly, the ARMM cabinet official further said that by engaging themselves in this industry, peace and prosperity could just be around the corner as being amply demonstrated already by places which have taken advantage of their naturally-endowed wealth.
According to Sinarimbo, the theme of the congress, captures the promise and hope of this sunshine industry, with agriculture and aquaculture as still the dominant sectors propelling regional economies in the country, the further strengthening of the seaweed industry would definitely augur well for farmers and their dependents.
For his part, Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat is honored and privileged to host the very first ARMM Seaweed Congress, an event that brings together the region's stakeholders in the seaweed industry to promote the greater participation of the different stakeholders in the region as well as serve as venue for more investments, marketing and other business opportunities.
As the mayor of Zamboanga, Lobregat said: "A city blessed with rich natural marine resources, I am elated by your efforts to bring progress and development in the ARMM region through seaweed cultivation and other related business endeavors."
He also said the city government has been consistent with its support to the agar-agar or seaweed farmers and that the various local stakeholders can make attestations to this partnership, since we are rooting for the continued success of seaweed production toward economic stability.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Asst. Secretary Salvador Salacup, in a keynote address representing DA Secretary Proseso Alcala, thanked ARMM Acting Governor Adiong and the Bureau of Fisheries Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on their promotion of the first ARMM Seaweeds Congress.
Salacup bared that the seaweed production is one of the major industries in ARMM. He said 38% of the total production of seaweeds (686,937.45 out of 1.799 million) in the country are coming here in the ARMM and even with 32,023 hectares of seaweed farms, there still remains 20,017 hectares of seaweeds that can be put.
"Filling it will match our 20% shortfall in raw dried seaweeds in this country," he added. "Seaweed farming helps the economy, providing livelihood to 42,664 families who are directly involved in production and hundreds more involved in trade. It also has potential value-adding."
Yesterday's ARMM Seaweeds Congress also saw the presence of the top officials of Department of Fisheries-ARMM (DAF-ARMM), Bureau of Fisheries Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and private organizations.
By Hader Glang
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