The seaweed can be sold by the farmer at different stages (see supply chain overview below). In some cases the farmer has his or her own processing and brand and sells directly to consumers. In others, the (usually raw dried) seaweed will go through the hands of more traders before it is processed and reaches the final customers.
Explore Sales by Species
In Indonesia, all farmed Gracilaria is destined for the food industry and will be processed into agar. Therefore, almost all raw dried Gracilaria is sold through local trade networks.
In China, 70% of Gracilaria is farmed for abalone feed and is sold directly to abalone farmers. The remaining 30% is dried and sold to national processors that produce agar.
In Indonesia, the farm gate price for Gracilaria depends on its quality when dried, its variety and the farm location. Gracilaria from sea cultivation usually gets a price premium of 25% when compared to Gracilaria from brackish water ponds.
If the farmer doesn’t have any outstanding loans or commitments with a local collector, he can sell his seaweed to anyone. In Indonesia, the sales process is usually informal and based on existing relations, so farmers would only sell to a maximum of 3-4 different collectors.
The point of sales is often at the drying platform, some aggregation point on the farm or at the farmer’s house. Here, the dried seaweed is packed into nylon sacks (these are the same across all three countries) from which they are sold. The weight of the bags can vary. Farmers don’t usually have a weighing scale, but local collectors would either bring one or weigh the sacks at the warehouse.