East Nusa Tenggara (Nusa Tenggara Timur/NTT) has long been recognized as one of the major seaweed producing provinces in Indonesia. With its uniqueness, the province is well suited for the development of quality seaweed production due to less polluted water, adequate sunlight, sea currents, pressure, and water quality and salinity that suit the biological needs and growth of seaweed. In 2013, the province was able to produce 1,966.2 tons of Raw Dried Seaweed/RDS (Statistic Book of Fishery, 2014).
Contrary to the ever-increasing opportunities and demand of seaweed from the global industry, some areas of seaweed production centers in NTT are experiencing significant production volume depreciation for the past 10 years. The decrease in production mainly occurred in part of NTT Province, especially the Flores area and its surroundings.
Our study before the project implementation informs us of several problems hindering seaweed cultivation in Flores. The main one is that farmers are experiencing difficulties in obtaining seeds. Interviewed farmers reported that before 2013 farmers had never experienced this problem as each farmer would reserve some of the crops for the next planting period. But since mid-2013 seeds are scarce and at the beginning of 2017, there was no stock at all. This is linked to the disappearance of seaweed buyers in the region. Since mid-2012 farmers no longer cultivated seaweed on a large scale as they did before.