Large drop in RP seaweed output seen

Published by rudy Date posted on March 11, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine seaweed production is expected to drop by 28.6 percent to 50,000 metric tons from last year’s 70,000 MT due to the prevailing El Niño weather phenomenon, driving up further the price of seaweeds and exerting additional cost pressure on local carageenan processors.

According to Benson Dakay of Shemberg Corp. and a member of the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP), the El Nino weather pattern is adversely affecting the seaweed production of Indonesia from which Philippine carageenan processors source their additional seaweed requirements.

Indonesia, which was expected to produce 110,000 metric tons of seaweed this year, is now expected to produce only 90,000 MT.

The possible seaweed production shortfall, Dakay fears, could drive up seaweed prices further even as the industry hopes that prices stay at a stable P65 per kilogram or $1,500 per ton.

Dakay warned that “if prices of seaweeds and carageenan continue to increase, users and buyers of carageenan will be forced to use substitute or alternative food hydrocolloid gums like modified starch, gelatin xanthan gums.”

He expressed hope that seaweed traders would not make “overnight money by hoarding and kill the goose that lay golden eggs.” –Marianne V. Go (The Philippine Star)

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