Improving seaweed production and processing opportunities in Indonesia. 

Project code
AUD 1,600,000
Research program manager
Prof. Ann Fleming
Project leader
Nicholas Paul - University of Sunshine Coast
AUG 2016
JUL 2020
Project status
Legally committed/Active
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This project is transforming and modernising the Indonesian seaweed industry by taking a whole-of-value-chain approach.

Indonesia is the world’s second-largest seaweed producer, and seaweed culture is one of the few available income-generating opportunities for coastal communities in eastern Indonesia. 

Although production is increasing by about 30% annually, problems with seaweed quality, processing procedures and utilisation of waste streams from processing, have been identified. Also, processors have identified an issue of declining quality in carrageenan-producing seaweeds, particularly reduced gel strength and problems with the colour of the processed product. 

The causes of variation in product quality and production between farming sites and across seasons, as well as deterioration in gel strength, are currently unknown. 

The project aims to analyse value chains to identify constraints and knowledge gaps for seaweed production in Indonesia; improve the quality of seaweeds produced at the farm level; and create innovative products from seaweeds and their processed waste streams.

Expected project outcomes

  • Improved quality of seaweed produced at farm level.
  • Increased household income in coastal communities due to improved productivity.
  • Generation of a new income source for pond farmers through expansion of Caulerpa farming in coastal ponds.
  • Income generation for women’s groups that undertake the processing and marketing of new products, through the development of processing techniques.
  • Reduced reliance of seaweed farmers on the fluctuating commodities markets for carrageenan and agar gels.
  • National economic benefits from increased proportion of seaweed processing in Indonesia, leading to local employment and retention of a greater share of the seaweed’s total value.
  • Positive environmental effects from the increased growth of seaweeds that utilise dissolved nutrients for growth that would otherwise enter the sea. 
  • Utilisation of solid and liquid waste streams from seaweed processing.
Key partners
Agency for Marine and Fisheries Research and Development
Centre for Seaweed Culture Research and Development
Hasanuddin University
Research Centre for Marine and Fisheries Product Processing and Biotechnology
fact sheet placeholder image
Fact sheet FIS/2015/038