In late November this year, the Mampang Seaweeds Planters Association (MASEPLA) in Zamboanga City officially launched their new floating seaweed dryer courtesy of USAID’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative. The seaweed dryer is deemed to help greatly improve the quality of MASEPLA’s harvested seaweed.
The floating dryer provides MASEPLA members the convenience of hauling their harvest from their farms to the drying area and reducing the time for drying seaweed—one of the most labor-intensive steps of the whole process. Based on a design by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the dryer was built with UV-treated sheets to prevent the seaweed from being exposed to rain, sand and other contaminants. This helps ensure the harvest’s quality by having the right amount of moisture that traders require. In addition to conducting post-construction quality assessment of the dryer, DOST also assisted MASEPLA in developing operational guidelines and maintenance policies for the dryer’s proper use and upkeep.
Still through the W-GDP Initiative, the USAID’s Protect Wildlife project helped MASEPLA enhance its members’ enterprise management skills through a training in business planning that was facilitated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The member-trainees developed a three-year enterprise plan that includes activities for conserving mangrove forests in their coastal community. (PWP/ May Anne Ramos)