BFAR launches recovery program for typhoon-hit seaweed farmers

ALGAE CULTURE. A farmer shows an algae farm damaged by Typhoon Odette in this January 7, 2022 file photo. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) intends to restore seaweed production on 100 hectares of farms on typhoon-ravaged Dawahon Island in Bato, Leyte. (Photo courtesy of BFAR Region 8)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) intends to restore seaweed production on 100 hectares of farms on typhoon-ravaged Dawahon Island in Bato, Leyte.

The bureau distributed about 100 units of seaweed farm equipment, 1.2 tons of seaweed seedlings, 10 units of 12-foot fiberglass boats and 10 units of 20-foot fiberglass boats with engines and accessories on Feb. 19, said Juan, regional director of BFAR Eastern Visayas Albaladejo in a phone interview on Thursday.

Within the first six months of the year, the beneficiaries of the fishermen will be granted approximately PHP 4 million worth of algae farming equipment and PHP 1.5 million worth of post-harvest facilities.

“Hopefully in three months we can have about 100 hectares or more seaweed farms on Dawahon Island actively producing seaweed, depending on the hard work of our seaweed farmers. I know the strength and resilience of our Dawahon farmers, so it’s just about giving them the push and also the inputs to get them planting again,” Albaladejo said.

“BFAR will always be there to help because we know we can bring back production at Dawahon Bank and the sustainability of the livelihood of seaweed farmers in Dawahon shared with Bohol and Cebu. Overall, we can do even more miracles in our algae production,” he added.

Ruel Inoc, a village official and a member of the Dawahon Seaweed Farmers Association, thanked BFAR for the prompt response after the destructive typhoon during the turnover.

“We will wait 30 days to produce seaweed seedlings that we can distribute to other farmers in our area,” Inoc said.

Dawahon is an island in the city of Bato with a land area of ​​just five hectares and a population of around 10,000.

The island is the seaweed capital of the eastern Visayas. Its residents have relied on seaweed cultivation as their main source of income for over 50 years.

Seaweed farms on the island were severely damaged by Typhoon Odette as it crossed Leyte Island on December 16, 2021. The area suffered losses of PHP 200 million, including harvestable algae, post-harvest facilities and fishing boats. (PNA)

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