Friday, 15 February 2019 on 10:24am

SEAMEO BIOTROP encourages the Seaweed Industry in Central Sulawesi through Tissue Culture Technology

SEAMEO BIOTROP as one of the pioneer institutions in the development of cottonii seaweed (Kappaphycus alvarezii) cultivation in Indonesia supports Indonesia to become one of the largest seaweed industry centers in the world. As a manifestation of its support, this time BIOTROP shares the cottonii seaweed breeding technology through tissue culture techniques to the regional institutions in Central Sulawesi where later the seedlings produced will be given to coastal communities and seaweed farmers within this area for cultivation. This is inseparable from the strong collaboration between BIOTROP and several Central Sulawesi government and education institutions. Previously, BIOTROP had also delivered this technology to various agencies in 20 provinces.

One realization of BIOTROP's support in terms of seaweed development in Central Sulawesi was by holding a one-day workshop on the development of the seaweed industry specifically for the Central Sulawesi area on 14 February 2019 at its office. This workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Central Sulawesi Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Agency. This activity was attended by 48 participants coming from various government and research institutions, universities and private industries in Indonesia engaged in seaweed cultivation and processing in Central Sulawesi.

In his remarks, Director of BIOTROP Dr Irdika Mansur said that cottonii seaweed is one of the potential commodities that has long been developed in Indonesia considering that Indonesia is an archipelago with a vast sea area. This type of seaweed is widely used as food, medicine and cosmetics. In addition, the carrageenan produced also has high economic value. Therefore, this type of seaweed is a mainstay of country foreign exchange.

"Since 2010, BIOTROP has conducted research in the supply of superior seaweed seeds through tissue culture techniques. This research has produced a tissue culture procedure that is very potential for the production of superior seaweed seeds in high number. In 2014, SEAMEO has also collaborated with the Directorate General of Aquaculture of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia to apply the results of the research to seaweed farmers," said Dr Irdika.

Meanwhile, cottonii seaweed expert from BIOTROP Dr Erina Sulistiani said that cottonii seaweed seedlings from tissue culture have several advantages compared to conventional seeds, including its growing 3-4 times faster, being more adaptive to environmental conditions and more resistant to disease, having higher carrageenan content, and having faster harvesting time (around 30 days).

The workshop was officially opened by the Head of the Central Sulawesi Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Agency (DKP), Dr. Hassanuddin Atjo. In his opening remarks, he conveyed that the DKP of Central Sulawesi Province encourages the development of seaweed in Central Sulawesi, which is one of the main producers of the cottonii seaweed in Indonesia. "BIOTROP and the government will collaborate in the application of tissue culture technology to develop the potential of local seaweed in the Central Sulawesi region," he said.

This one-day workshop presented five seaweed experts, namely Dr Hassanuddin Atjo, Dr Erina Sulistiani, Ms Emi Rusyani, SPi, MS (representative of the Head of Lampung Marine Aquaculture Center), Dr Iriani Setyaningsih (IPB University lecturer), and Mr Soerianto Kusnowirjono (Chair of the Indonesian Seaweed Industry Association) to explain five main topics, namely: 1) the Development of Seaweed Industry in Central Sulawesi; 2) Provision of Seaweed Seeds through Tissue Culture Technology; 3) Seaweed seedlings from Tissue Culture and Its Cultivation by Indonesian Society; 4) Seaweed Processing developed in University, Household, and Industry Scales; and 5) the Development of Seaweed Industry in Indonesia as a Driver of the Economy of Coastal Communities.

"We also invited participants to participate in FGD activities to identify opportunities, risks, and technology to ensure the quality and continuity of seaweed production in Central Sulawesi; to draft a concept of strategy for developing the cottonii seaweed industry, covering the supply of superior seeds from tissue culture techniques, site selection, as well as seaweed cultivation system and processing in Central Sulawesi; and to formulate an action plan for developing an integrated seaweed industrial estate in Central Sulawesi," said Dr. Erina who was also the coordinator of the workshop.

On this occasion, SEAMEO BIOTROP also officially collaborated with four institutions which were marked by the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) by Dr. Irdika Mansur (BIOTROP’s Director) with Dr Hassanuddin Atjo (Head of the Central Sulawesi DKP), Dr Muhardi Hasanuddin (Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture of Tadulako University), Prof Burhanuddin Sundu (Dean of the Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries of Tadulako University), and Dr Muhd Nur Sangadji (Chair of the Community and Regional Development Study Center of Tadulako University). The MoU with the Central Sulawesi DKP will be valid for 5 years, while the other three are effective for 3 years.

This collaboration includes the development of tissue culture technology to produce cottonii seaweed seeds; human resource development in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and forestry; as well as regional planning and community development in Central Sulawesi. Through this cooperation, it is expected that the availability of superior and adaptive seaweed seeds can always be fulfilled so that it will increase the amount of seaweed production in Central Sulawesi.

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