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Fiji Time: 7:04 PM on Monday 21 April

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Seaweed project grows into industry

Shalveen Chand
Sunday, December 29, 2013

SEAWEED is fast becoming an industry for maritime communities around the country.

The Ministry of Fisheries is now working on identifying export markets for green seaweed or lumi.

Fisheries officer Jope Kavoa said Bau Island was one island where the project had started.

"The initial seaweed project was started in the 1980s but back then there was no market," he said.

"We have now identified local markets and there is demand, off-shore as well.

"The ministry is targeting production of 100 tonnes of seaweed.

"While seaweed can be sold in its natural form, we have been encouraging cultivators to diversify and add value to the product.

"We can make jam, noodles, shampoo, soap and even beauty products. We have some export markets opening up, but before we can embark onto that, we will have to ensure that we can meet the demand."

The Fisheries Ministry has helped interested farmers by providing them with all materials to start the seaweed farms.

Jovesa Nabou, 45, a seaweed farmer from Bau Island said he was expecting a good yield.

"I have about 500 lines, we farm the seaweed tying them on lines. One line will be almost 10 kilograms and that's close to $20," he said.

The ministry is hoping to have 50 communities doing seaweed farming before the end of the year.