Seaweed in Indonesia

Seaweed in Indonesia

With a strong focus on product value adding, and increasing harvest quantity and quality, Rikolto collaborates with seaweed farmers to ensure a stable income for seaweed farmers.

Restoring production to ensure a stable income for seaweed farmers

After China, Indonesia is the second biggest seaweed producer in the world, contributing to 38% of the global seaweed market. Seaweed cultivation in Indonesia is largely concerned with the production of carrageenan. Extracted from edible seaweeds, this by-products is used widely in the food and cosmetic industries as a natural gelling agent.

Contrary to the ever-increasing opportunities and demand for seaweed, its production has been declining in Indonesia over the past 10 years. Rapid tourism development, the clearing of seaweed wetland habitats, and concerns of pollution all threaten the national market. Seaweed production needs to be restored to ensure a stable income for seaweed farmers.

Rikolto helps improve the livelihood of seaweed farmers through innovative seaweed agribusiness practices. With a strong focus on product value adding, and increasing harvest quantity and quality, we collaborate with seaweed farmers from two locations within eastern Indonesia: Nusa Penida and Sikka, Flores.


  • Compromised land due to tourism development
  • Polluted waterways threaten the success of seaweed farming. Indonesia is the second biggest plastic producer in the world.
  • Lack of consistency regarding seaweed quality
  • Perceptions of contamination of seaweed in Sikka, Flores
  • Lack of organisation within farmer cooperatives in Nusa Penida
  • Herbivory from turtles, dugongs and herbivorous fish


  • Provide better quality seed
  • Workshops to improve farming techniques
  • Improve post-harvest and processing
  • Multi-stakeholder meetings engaging all sectors of the community to promote the consumption and sale of seaweed products
  • Greater market research to understand potential new derivative products
  • Development of a seaweed centre
  • Training farmers to make derivative products
  • Lobby government to protect seaweed growing sites and promote the industry
  • Technology that adapts to seaweed farming to minimise predation

2019 Results

Significant progress took place in the seaweed sector.

  • A decade after the collapse of the seaweed industry in Sikka, seaweed farmers have started to cultivate seaweed again. We link farmers with a Village-Owned Enterprise that will market raw dried seaweed from farmers.

  • Women seaweed farmers in Nusa Penida have received additional income through seaweed-based product development, such as soaps, body scrubs, and noodles. We helped farmers distribute the products to hotels in Bali. Some of these products were already exhibited at the Trade Expo Indonesia 2019.

  • Seaweed ecotourism and educational-tourism was launched in Nusa Lembongan. The site is managed by seaweed farmers who directly received the financial benefits from tourism.

2018 Progress

Rikolto started the seaweed programme in 2018.

  • In Sikka, there are only a few remaining seaweed farmers and Rikolto wants them to earn better income from seaweed. In 2018, we trained farmers, tested several planting techniques, and engaged various stakeholders through multistakeholder dialogues at the district and provincial level.

  • In Nusa Penida, we created a niche market for seaweed products by training female seaweed farmers to make seaweed-based products.

Seaweed Coordinator

M Ziaul Haq
M Ziaul Haq
Seaweed Coordinator
+62811 3863 714