So far, the seaweed growers are the most dejected lots and the least looked after. For decades, the generation of seaweed growers will continue this profession as they never had any extra to sent their children to school and benefit the economic prosperity of the other citizens. They have very limited circulation and I think, enough has to be enough. They deserved more attention from the government.
GOVERNMENT ATTENTION SHOULD BE INCLUSIVE OF ALL CITIZENS AND NOT EXCLUSIVE FOR THE SELECTED AND PRIVILEGED FEW!
The buying station is legitimate governmental involvement designed to give fair pricing to the growers will be the sole objective that these growers will always have enough extras for medical, education for their children, food and leaving a certain extra for savings.
The buying station in turn will become consolidators and stockpiling enough quantum either for local sales or for international exports.
The seaweed growers lives on less than RM15.00 a day and yet this statistics fails to capture the humiliation, powerlessness and brutal hardship that is their daily lives and common endurance that they encounter each day. This is the human tragedy that must be corrected because our leaders kept harping on increased income generating country for which we Sabahan are not!
Growers get very much less by selling to private brokers who ultimately become more richer at the expense of the growers. So governmental involvement become necessary for a fair and equitable distribution of wealth. The success of this station will naturally attract more growers from Tawitawi to Zamboanga to come to Tawau and from Nonokan to Tarakan will also follow suit.
This ultimate movements of cargoes is what we visualize as trade movements which over time we develop the 3 Ts concept (Tawau+Tawitawi+Tarakan): inbound into Tawau shall be seaweed and outbound shall be consumable food stuffs and household goods.
The modus operandi of our local brokers is far more devastating than in neighbouring countries. In Tawau, local pricing only rm1.80/kg. For Tarakan, it is rm2.50-2.80/kg. Our farmers definitely will have much problems with this pricing. Our governmental buying station can pay rm3.50/kg and still have good margins.
The processed seaweeds is called Carageenan which is described as a natural marine colloidal gum of a seaweed extract. This is widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries as stabiliser, enhancer, emulsifier, food thickener in sauces and many others. It’s users range from basic ingredients in the manufacturers of consumer products to industrial products.
The old immigration/customs jetty for ferries to Nunukan and Tarakan can be used for this effect.