Sta. Cruz, Davao de Sur – The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP), assisted a group of seaweed farmers here by providing funds for seaweed farming and a processing project. The DA said the Bato Seaweeds Association, Inc. (Baseas) is the recipient of the P6.2-million assistance, which is expected to increase farmers’ income. This town is known as a major producer of seaweeds in the Davao Region, and the commodity is also a source of livelihood of at least 372 small fishermen. The DA added that bulk of the amount came from the MRDP, while the provincial government provided P1-million as its counterpart fund, while the Baseas raised at least P1.2-million as its corresponding equity. Baseas president Victor Relator said that with the funding assistance, their association has established a five-hectare seaweed production farm, and set up a processing warehouse and drying facility. “The processing warehouse includes a drier, where members can dry their seaweeds not only from the Baseas’ five-hectare farm but also from their own individual farms,” Relator said. The members of the group were also provided with 67 non-motorized bancas that they use in planting and harvesting seaweeds. To haul farm inputs and the large volume of harvested seaweeds, a flat-bottom pump boat was also provided, including a hauling truck that is used for the delivery of the products to the market.
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