Rikolto - VECO/VredesEilanden

06/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/11/2019 07:10

Sikka farmers finding potential in seaweed

In the two-hour meeting, farmers voiced their concerns, mainly about access to market. In the meeting, it was agreed that the village government, through a Village-Owned Enterprise (BUMDes) will buy seaweed from farmers. 'We already have BUMDes who will buy directly from farmers. So, farmers should not be worried about market. We will facilitate that' said Bernad Kelang, Reroroja Village Chief.

In Indonesia, the establishment of BUMDes is one of the government's efforts to advance the local economy, improve rural development and develop the village partnerships and/or third party's partnership. BUMDes can partner up with private sector and local communities to develop a collaborative governance that suits to local context.

To support farmers, Rikolto has been working collaboratively with the Government of Sikka to re-introduce seaweed as an economic income source. At a provincial level, the East Nusa Tenggara Timur Provincial Government has included seaweed industry as one of its strategic development agendas. The region itself has wide areas potential for seaweed cultivation reaching around 51,000 hectares.

The economic potential of seaweed, however, has not been fully unlocked due to several reasons such as low productivity, weak market infrastructure and not enough investment in seaweed-processing factories. To contribute to rural development, Rikolto through BUMDes supported farmers with seaweed seedlings and farming and harvesting techniques. We also invited buyers to see seaweed cultivation processes.

Iskak Indrayani, a representative from a private sector said that her company is committed to buying 10 tons of seaweed from farmers. 'Seaweed has a great market potential and there is always a demand for seaweed. We are ready to collaborate with BUMDes to buy seaweed cultivated by farmers,' Indrayani told the farmers.