In a recent evaluation press conference looking towards Indonesia’s golden vision of 2045, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, shared an exciting revelation. He highlighted the burgeoning potential of seaweed, foreseeing it as a major player in Indonesia’s economic landscape over the next five years, paralleling the transformative influence of nickel.
Expressing his optimism, Luhut stated, “Just as our nickel mines have shaped our economic landscape, I believe seaweed will emerge as a transformative project in the next five years.” This insight suggests the imminent role seaweed could play in steering Indonesia’s economic direction.
Delving into the national initiative to boost seaweed’s impact, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) is actively advocating for the downstream development of seaweed to enhance community welfare. This initiative was a focal point during the Practitioner and Economist Symposium (PARETO) 2023 held on December 6-7, 2023.
Lia Sugiharti, representing the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP), shed light on the topic of seaweed community downstreaming. She emphasized, “When we discuss downstreaming, we are focusing on creating added value, ensuring quality, and addressing challenges within this community.”
Providing context to this downstreaming initiative, Sugiharti explained that KKP has embraced a blue economy policy. Currently, one of the flagship programs under the blue economy policy is the sustainable development of seaweed cultivation on land, sea, and coastal areas.
Sugiharti highlighted, “Seaweed aligns perfectly with the principles of the blue economy as it is a commodity poised to absorb carbon energy. Its cultivation is environmentally friendly, steering clear of fertilizers and chemicals.”
Positioning seaweed as a strategic commodity for the future, Sugiharti underscored its versatile applications in various industries such as food, personal care, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and biotechnology.
“In 2023, KKP is actively spearheading the development of downstreaming and upstreaming models for seaweed cultivation based on regional considerations. The targeted region for development is Wakatobi,” she clarified during the PARETO symposium on Wednesday, December 6.
This strategic development starts from the upstream phase, aiming to boost productivity to meet the demands of industries and introduce value-added products. Sugiharti emphasized the need for the government to play a pivotal role in encouraging added value from fisheries products.
Highlighting the government’s proactive stance, Sugiharti revealed the formulation and issuance of Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Regulation Number 59 of 2021. This regulation addresses ways to amplify the added value of fisheries products through the development of innovative seaweed-based products.
Furthermore, data analysis indicates a fluctuating trend in seaweed production in Indonesia since 2005. The unpredictable price fluctuations are attributed to the absence of specific regulations governing this sector. Sugiharti emphasized the importance of implementing regulations as a guiding framework to stabilize prices.
Recognizing downstreaming as a gradual process, Sugiharti stressed the need for collaboration with various stakeholders, especially investors. She highlighted the government’s critical role, particularly in facilitating technology transfer through collaborations with diverse entities. This strategic approach aims to fortify Indonesia’s seaweed industry, enhancing its competitiveness both domestically and internationally.