Saturday, June 28, 2008


Seaweed project to ease poverty among islanders


Universiti Malaysia Sabah has been urged to find ways to further encourage Banggi islanders to take part in UMS seaweed cultivation to improve their livelihood. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin, in making the call, said it could be a good way to ease poverty. Yahya, who is also Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, was speaking after inspecting the seaweed project on the island, which is jointly carried out by UMS Borneo Marine Research Institute and Fisheries Development Authorityof Malaysia (LKIM) under the Hardcore Poor Development Programme of the Rural and Regional Development Ministry. He was briefed on the project by the UMS seaweed research officer Azlin Abd Hamid. According to Azlin, the project has great potential and would bring huge returns, and is the answer to eradicate hardcore poor on the island. Apart from researching on the best method to cultivate seaweed and its nutritional value, UMS is also assisting by buying the dried seaweed from the participants. To date, some 112 residents of Banggi, Balambangan and nearby islands have signed up for the programme. The project, which was launched in March 1999, is located on the northern part of Sabah, which has been expanded to Pitas and Kota Marudu, Since its inception, the Kudat/Banggi participants’ seaweed farming, both wet and dry, is located at Kampung Kaligau, Telutuh, Panukaran Island, Sibogo, Malawali and Matangule. Seaweed is scientifically known as ‘Eurcheuma cottonii’, or ‘latoh’ among the locals. There are two species of seaweed, namely ‘Eurcheuma cottonii’ and ‘Eucheauma spinosum’. UMS is also helping the participants to market its seaweed products and has successfully produced quality cosmetic products from the Eucheauma spinosum species.