During more than a year of being hit by a pandemic, workers in the tourism sector or other affected sectors in Bali are experiencing economic difficulties.
Many of them made a job transfer so they could continue to earn some money. This happened in Serangan Island, South Denpasar. Now the former tourism workers are busy pursuing their new profession as seaweed farmers.
“The number of seaweed farmers in Serangan is 70 people, and around 50 of them are those who used to be private employees,” said Head of the Banjar Dukuh Serangan Environment, I Made Miasa, Friday (21/5/2021).
The area of land for seaweed cultivation in the Serangan area reaches 2 hectares. “Since the 2000s, Serangan has started cultivating seaweed, ” added I Made Miasa.
Cultivating seaweed, according to him, does not take a long time.
“If the weather is favorable and the water is good, in a month, the average harvest can be up to 100 kilograms. If the weather is not good, it can take up to 1,5 months before it can be harvested, “he explained.
Made Miasa said that in cultivating seaweed there are many obstacles during the rainy season. Some of the planted seaweed had suffered from deformity due to sea pests and continued rain, which caused the quality of the seaweed to decline.
“During the months of February-March, we had a problem because at that time it was raining continuously. Much of the seaweed was damaged due to rainwater and we had difficulty drying the seaweed. The sea pest problem can be solved by replacing the previously used rope with a new rope to make it cleaner and seaweed can absorb nutrients in seawater better,” said the Head of Environment.
“If you want to create an area to plant seaweed, you can make it yourself, you can also pay people to ask for help, there are also those who buy areas belonging to other people,” explained Miasa.
The people of Serangan Island themselves are more resilient to the economic conditions of the Island of the Gods which were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Those who are involved in the seaweed sector, for example, are not affected by the presence or absence of tourists in Bali.
“In the past, we had parents who were less fortunate, so since we were young we worked as seaweed farmers,” said Nyoman Santun, one of the seaweed farmers.
Due to the situation, the community optimizes the use of the Serangan area which has marine resources.
“We could not afford to study either, that’s why seaweed farming was the only job possible,” added Nyoman Santun.
Even though amid a pandemic, Nyoman Santun admitted that he was not affected by income because it had not decreased significantly but also did not increase significantly.
“Usually there are collectors who bring seaweed to Kumbasari Market and Sanglah Market to be sold,” he added.
This seaweed is usually used as processed food.
“How much seaweed is harvested also depends on the weather and water waves. If the weather is not good and the waves are big, it will be difficult for us, ”he added.
As a seaweed farmer who has lived for decades, Nyoman Santun said that the income he earns is sufficient to meet his daily needs, especially food needs.
“But to start this business, to buy jukung, machines, seeds, it takes about Rp. 25 million,” said Nyoman.
In the Serangan area, the most cultivated seaweeds are the kotoni and agar-agar types.
“After cleaning it first, we can immediately sell it, ” said Nyoman.
In contrast to green seaweed which is ready to be sold, white seaweed requires processing during five days before it can be sold. Nyoman Santun said that the seaweed is usually priced at IDR 15.000 per kilogram.
Apart from the seaweed farming sector, Serangan village also has other mainstay sectors such as fishing nets.
Meanwhile, in response to the enthusiasm of seaweed cultivation, Made Miasa hopes that this sector can get better attention from the government.
“The public must also be aware of the prospects that the sector has,” he concluded.
illustration by probisnis.net