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BIMP-EAGA ASEAN Coral Triangle
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Global significance of the RAGS trade
 
For countries examined during the present study the RAGS accounted for about 52% of total value and 65% of total volume for total seaweed and gum imports. Proportions of various seaweed genera that appeared in official trade data are shown this figure.

The primary use of non-RAGS seaweeds was as human food or as raw material for making alginates. Non-RAGS gums compete with RAGS gums in some applications and are complementary in other applications.

Annual global seaweed (marine macro-algae) production was reported by FAO to be on the order of 1.4 million dry tons per annum. According to the 2006 FAO analysis seaweed-based value chains generated a range of products with annual production value estimated at 5.5 -7 billion USD/annum. Of this human food products accounted for about 90%, hydrocolloids for about 6-8% and other products such as agricultural nutrients accounted for the rest.

Almost 90% of commercial seaweed production came from cultivation. The tropical RAGS were mainly from farms in the Coral triangle. Cultivated cold-water seaplants were primarily Laminaria, Undaria and Porphyra cultivated in China, Japan and Korea. Since many seaplants and their products were exchanged in local markets there are gaps in the available statistics and actual volumes were undoubtedly higher than shown. For example Indonesia had a substantial domestic agar industry that required about 40,000 tons per annum of raw, dried Gracilaria but this material did not appear in generally available official statistics.
 
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2006. State of World Aquaculture 2006, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 500 (FAO Rome), 162 pp. FAO / WB Study; “Value Chain Analysis of the Indonesian Seaweed Sector,” June 2007
 
 
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SEAPlant.net SEAPlant.net Monograph No. HB2D 1108 V1 GTZ.
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