Sabah seaweed has potential to be Malaysia's superfood

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 (Bernama) -- Seaweed, which is being processed in abundance along the coast of Semporna in Sabah, has potential to be Malaysia's superfood for export worldwide.

Aware of this, Agriculture and Agro-based industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the government would implement special programmes to increase production ad marketing of seaweed products , which contained high nutrition.

"The ministry, together with about 1,600 seaweed operators , is developing an area of about 1,000 hectares into an estate farming for seaweed."

"Apart from that, we have to look into how to develop downstream products and market them, to ensure the value of the products provide good returns for the operators," he said during the Ministers' Question time in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Raime Unggi (BN-Tenom) on efforts made to increase productivity of the seaweed industry in Sabah.

Ahmad Shabery, however, said the main challenge in developing the industry was to increase the price of seaweed, which was RM3 per kilogramme for dried seaweed currently.

"The price at the seaweed farmers is still low compared with those at the manufacturing end and retailers."

"If we want seaweed to be superfood, we have to promote its goodness," he said.

Towards that end, he said, the ministry, with the cooperation of the Sabah Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry, would organise a 'Seaweed Splash' programme in Semporna between this March 30 and April 1.

He said the programme would be capable of increasing the demand for seaweed, hence increased the income of seaweed farmers through sales of seaweed products, seminar on seaweed industry and business matching between manufacturers and buyers.

-- BERNAMA