More than 20 local participants have completed a four-day training on how to produce other products with seaweed in Honiara today.
The training is organised through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Indonesia and their counterpart Ministry in Solomon Islands.
Speaking at the closing of the workshop today, Acting Director in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Mr Bennie Buga thanked the Indonesian Government through their Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the resource personals who conducted the workshop for the knowledge imparted to the participants
Mr. Buga said he was overjoyed when he walked into the training room because he could see that the participants were very happy to have been selected for the training and have gained something from the workshop.
He said this training is the first of its kind to happen in Solomon Islands.
“When we think about seaweed we only think about harvesting it from the wild and eating it fresh or even left waste on the shores, polluting our beaches, without realising that it can be preserved or processed into lotion, candy or noodle, juice or soap etc. and turned into an income generating commodity.”
“I encouraged the participants that with the knowledge that is rare, the government of the Republic of Indonesia through their Foreign Affairs has made it possible for the resources personals to come over and ran the training programme.
He also thanked the Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs for linking the Ministry of Fisheries with Foreign Affairs of Indonesia to facilitate the training.
The Acting Director of Fisheries challenged the participants to share information gained from the training to others in their communities.
“I expect you (participants) to pass on the knowledge gained because it was not meant for yourselves but the skills gained from the workshop should be shared to the communities,” the acting Director said.
He revealed one of the participant is from the Solomon Islands National University’s (SINU) Fisheries School adding it would be good if he includes seaweed processing in their training programme.
The equipment used for the current training will be kept for similar trainings by the Aquaculture division of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
Mr Buga reiterated his earlier call to the participants not to keep the knowledge to themselves but share it around with the rural people.
“My main message to the participants is that the knowledge gained must be shared with the rural people who have seaweed farms but do not know what to do with it,” he said.
This can be their source of income by adding value to the seaweed through processing he added.
Seaweed farmers and those in the communities only know one thing and that is the seaweed when it matures, farmers harvested them, dried, packed into bags and getting the local buyer to buy it from them.
Representing the facilitators of the workshop Mr Really Wibowo who was one of the resource persons said the participants were friendly and good to see that the participants were excited about the whole training.
“We are hoping the participants can pass on the knowledge gained with others as well. This not an overnight task hopefully there is another training and I’m looking forward for another project,” he said.