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Tanjung Harapan, Seaweed Farming In Nunukan North Kalimantan

Location : Tanjung Harapan, Kecamatan Nunukan Selatan, Kalimantan Utara, Indonesia.

Our tour of Nunukan on our second day was arranged through Hotel Laura’s reception with a local ‘travel’ guy by the name of Arif who spoke Bahasa Malaysia fluently, and most Nunukan locals do. He brought along his friend who would be our impromptu driver (whose name I forgot) that day as Arif was busy. He was kind of nervous and was not sure where to bring us until I suggested a place where locals produced something. His eye lit up and said ‘rumput laut’ or seaweed and off we shoot to Tanjung Harapan a large community of Muslim Dayak Tidung.

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Kappaphyccus red algae seems the most popular species cultured in Indonesia

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Ladies tying the seedlings along a long string like laundry lines before casting them back to sea to grow for the next 40 days.

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Healthy seaweed

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Poor quality ones are turned into salt

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Locals loading the dried and packed seaweed to be exported.

The seaweed farming industry fitted perfectly into this island protected by the bigger Sebatik Island from strong waves and winds. A simple marine algae keeping hundreds of villagers here happily employed and across the whole of Indonesia hundreds of thousand more. This marine commodity has recently made Indonesia the world’s No.1 producer in tropical seaweed knocking Philippines into second place. The outlook for this versatile plant is more promising than ever with world demand escalating by the year in the food processing, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, alcoholic brewing and fertilizer industries. Perhaps, the current high demand for ‘halal’ and vegan food has prompted manufacturers to switch from gelatin to agar agar and carrageenan substitutes which are extracts of this seaweed. Next…..mosque, church and temple.

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Nunukan island

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Entrance to Tanjung Harapan

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Tanjung Harapan village

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A very hardworking and happy farmer

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This wannabe stevedore from KL failed miserably trying to lift this 100kg seaweed

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