The Davao Investors Association is targeting to expand lemongrass and seaweed production in Davao Region due to huge demand.
Virgilio Sangutan, the chair of the United Investors Organizations in the Philippines, said that lemon grass and seaweed production have huge potentials especially when there is value added to the products.
He said some of the potential products that can be made from seaweeds include fertilizers, crackers, noodles, and pharmaceutical products while lemongrass oil for cosmetic purposes is in demand in South Korea and Europe.
Sangutan said that inventors developed a technology that will help farmers grow lemongrass and seaweeds efficiently and effectively.
“A technology extracting lemongrass oil from freshly picked lemongrass is being used now. This technology involves a steam process in which the distilled liquid coming from its vapor will be processed to become lemongrass oil,” he said during the Sangutan added that a Filipino investor from Butuan City, Engr. Rudy Cane, has expressed interest in buying lemongrass from Davao Region once the industry had been properly cultivated.
A hectare of land can accommodate 10,000 individual lemongrass plants with each plant weighing 3 kilos and sold at P5 per kilo,” Sangutan said
“This plant can be of low maintenance given that it doesn’t actually require fertilizers as it grows and flourishes,” he said.
“You can harvest every three months and it will just grow anew. You only need to replace the main seedling after six years,” Sangutan added.
The seaweed farming in the country failed during earlier attempts due the lack of a central and supervising technology that will support the cultivation and progress of the industry.
Sangutan said seaweed farming is affected by strong sea current especially during the southeast monsoon or the Amihan and northeast monsoon or Habagat.
“We have developed a technology that will protect the seaweeds from strong currents. This is developed by the local investors group in Davao,” he said.
According to Sangutan a Cebu-based manufacturer, Shemberg Group of Companies, expressed its intent to buy 1,000 metric tons (MT) of seaweeds every month. Shemberg Group of Companies is one of the leading manufacturers of refined carrageenan, a food additive extracted from red edible seaweeds.
Sangutan hopes that their priority projects with the objective of empowering fisherfolks and farmers in Davao Region will help improve their livelihood.