BY NEIL JEROME C. MORALES, Reporter
Could mean big business for Bicol region
THE BUREAU of Agricultural Research (BAR) has developed 20 products from processed seaweeds, opening up a new potential for the fisheries commodity in the Bicol region.
Some of the products that could open a new market for seaweed farmers include seaweed candies, seaweed noodles, seaweed chips, nata de seaweeds, seaweed jam, seaweed chocolate, seaweed longanisa, and macaroons with seaweed.
“We developed and created new products which are not only affordable but are also nutritious,” said Aida S. Andayog, manager of the Regional Fisheries Research and Development Center.
New products that will likely open a new market for seaweed farmers include seaweed candies, seaweed noodles, pickled seaweeds, seaweed chips, nata de seaweeds, seaweed tart, seaweed jam, seaweed chocolate bar, seaweed longanisa, macaroons with seaweed, fish lumpia with seaweed, seaweed morcon, seaweed marmalade, seaweed kropek and seaweed juice.
“These products have competitive advantage in the market considering the uniqueness, taste, and nutritional value,” Ms. Andayog said.
“Seaweeds are a low-calorie food, with a high concentration of minerals, vitamins, proteins and digestible carbohydrates, and some lipids,” she added.
Seaweeds, which are rich in iodine, iron, magnesium, sodium, calcium and phosphorous, is used here and abroad as an ingredient in human and animal food, cosmetics, fertilizers, medicines and also in wastewater treatment.
In 2003, an on-farm research and a seaweed nursery were put up by the agency through funds from a community-based participatory action research project.
The facility became a model seaweed production farm for the coastal municipalities of Sorsogon and eventually, in the whole region, the BAR said.
The project, dubbed the “Product Development/Improvement and Commercialization of Seaweeds in Bicol Region,” was targeted to create a comprehensive development and commercialization of seaweeds and processed seaweed products in the region and to put up village-level seaweed production and processing enterprises.
Trainings and seminars were held to educate seaweed farmers on the principles of good manufacturing practices and sanitation standard operating procedures required for export products.
Furthermore, products underwent sensory evaluation to assess the product appearance, odor, flavor and textures and its nutritional value through nutritional evaluation, the BAR said.
The project is funded by the BAR under its National Technology Commercialization Program that aims to promote agribusiness in the country and create jobs.
Early this month, the BAR said it was developing pigeon pea coffee as a healthy alternative drink. Products also being developed from pigeon pea include organic vinegar, basi wine, handmade paper, vermi-compost, syrup, cookies and other flat bread baked from pigeon pea flour.