Coastal communities located in the barangays of Mampang, Tigtabon, Talon-Talon, and Arena Blanco in Zamboanga City have recently began construction of the permanent-type solar-powered seaweed dryer funded through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) IX Local Grants-in-Aid (GIA) Program.
A combined total of Two Million, Six Hundred Eighty Thousand Pesos (₱2,680,000) were released to the said communities; the Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs) of Mampang and Tigtabon received ₱ 350,000 and ₱990,000 respectively, while ₱350,000 went to the Maharlika Seaweeds Farmers Marketing Cooperative in Talon-Talon, while the Kasanyangan Nursery Seaweeds Enterprise INC. of Arena Blanco received ₱990,000.
An estimated four-hundred (400) families in the mentioned locations are set to benefit from the use of the drying technology.
The permanent-type dryer is a storehouse-like structure that has been designed by the University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB) to withstand harsh weather conditions, and provide easy, all-around access for farmers. Its counterpart, the floating-type dryer, stays on the water surface and allows farmers to tow the structure close to their production area for faster harvesting.
Both have been designed to keep the harvested seaweeds from direct exposure to sand, dirt, and other contaminants that are usually collected during the harvesting, hauling, and storage phases. Aside from the greenhouse/U-V treated sheets that cover both facilities, they are also fitted with built-in, solar-powered exhaust fans for the quick and uniform drying of stocks.
At present, studies have shown the structures to be capable of drying two (2) tons of fresh seaweeds in a matter of three (3) days, without any inconsistency in production.
DOST’s GIA program provides grants for the implementation of programs and projects that fall under the identified DOST priority sectors, and aims to strengthen these sectors in research and development, promotion, technology transfer and utilization, human resource development, information dissemination, advocacy, and linkages.
(CMBait-it,DOST IX Press Release
it,DOST IX Press Release)