Future of Farm
We asked each farmer about their ambitions to expand and the main reasons that limit their farm’s potential growth. Farmers were also asked to list the major production challenges they face on a daily basis, as well as their needs or wishes that could help improve farming activities. The answers paint a picture of the industry in real time and provide valuable insights into technology gaps and innovation opportunities.
Explore The Farmer by Species
Main Challenges and Innovation Needs
Chinese Gracilaria farmers use ropes for cultivation. This requires a lot of manual labour, especially when seeding, harvesting and processing. Farmers report that younger generations are not interested in doing this type of work, so finding labour is a recurring challenge for the industry.
Another industry challenge that affects farmers in both China and Indonesia, are rising water temperatures due to climate change. Farmers report that they have to contend with longer periods when the water reaches above 33ºC, reducing seaweed growth. This can be a critical point for Gracilaria cultivation and could affect harvest yields which would have economical repercussions for the farmers.
In Indonesia the main challenge mentioned was lack of space. Pond areas are limited and not all have suitable characteristics. Similarly, more frequent and stronger tropical storms in farming areas bring excessive flooding and wash away the production lines.
Gracilaria farmers in Indonesia that use ponds to grow their crop tend to begin production during the dry season to ensure they maintain the correct salinity levels (below 10 ppt). Long-line cultivation at sea is showing promising results and may provide alternative growth opportunities for Gracilaria production in the future.
However, cultivation at sea comes with risks. The general threat in open marine culture is exposure to herbivorous fish and epiphytes.
Similar to Eucheumatoids, a general “seedling problem” exists, where high quality strains are not available for Gracilaria. Seedlings from spores of Gracilaria changii have been developed and piloted in Takalar, Maros, Pangkep and Bone districts in South Sulawesi. Such efforts aim to increase future Gracilaria production and quality.