Papuan and Seaweed (sbs.com.au)

Seaweed bringing hope to remote villages in West Papua

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Papuan and Seaweed (sbs.com.au)
Papuan and Seaweed (sbs.com.au)

Jayapura, 29/12 (Jubi/SBS) – If you’re a fan of sushi, you could be helping some of the world’s poorest. Thanks to the growing seaweed industry, farmers in West Papua have been able to dramatically change their lives.

West Papua is one of the most remote regions in the world, 3000 kilometres from the Indonesian capital Jakarta. The region has seen decades of conflict and economic opportunities are virtually non-existant. But thanks to the growing seaweed industry, farmers in the region have been able to dramatically change their lives.

Farmers in West Papua are taking to the water and while what they are collecting may not look like much, the seaweed could be the key to unlocking economic security for families in the region. Since Abdul Golap began farming his income has qaudrupled from less than $50 a month to over $200 a month.

“Before I didn’t have enough money to send my children to school. But with seaweed our children can go to university,” he says.

The seaweed industry is worth around $6 billion and demand is growing rapidly, something Indonesia is hoping to tap into.

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By the end of 2015, Indonesia is hoping to become the world’s biggest seaweed producers, overtaking the Philippines. Indonesia has set a production goal of 10 million tonnes in the next year and that’s where these remote coastal communities play a major part.

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