Gunung Kidul – Students of Master of Management (MM), Faculty of Economics and Business UGM conducted mentoring and entrepreneurship training on seaweed cultivation business in Kemadang Village, Tanjungsari, Gunung Kidul regency. The activity began with mapping and data collection of farmers and SMEs of seaweed chips in Kukup, Krakal, and Sundak Beaches.
Information that was gathered showed that seaweed has not been optimally managed yet. Intake of seaweed still relies on exploitation of nature. "Technology of seaweed utilization is still simple. The intake has to be done until the tide ebbs on the beach," said Aditya Budi Krisnanto (24), an MM UGM student, after doing the data collection.
Aditya explained the cultivation of seaweed needs to be done through transfer of technology for seaweed to be produced in a sustainable manner and no longer relies on the nature. "Transfer of technology needs to be made so that production continues," he said.
Aditya added, seaweed processing is still a side business for the people living around the beach, because seaweed harvest still relies on weather, namely the end of rainy season. The absence of packaging and good marketing make seaweed chips production only sold to beach visitors. "Actually, seaweed is not only processed into chips but also pecel (traditional salad dressing) and sauce, so that it is still potential to produce other types of food," he said.
Another student, Conny, said natural factors cause seaweed not easy to harvest. The price of raw seaweed is 5 times lower than the price of the agar. Besides, the way to intake seaweed does not apply the concept of sustainability. One of the ways used by gouging it with a spoon. "Harvesting manually is better than using a spoon because if you use a spoon, then the root is also pulled out. As a result, the seaweed cannot grow anymore," she explained.
Field Supervisor, Soenarwan Hery Poerwanto, S.Si., M. Kes., said that entrepreneurship assistance of seaweed cultivation business is not only done through training in entrepreneurship, but also technology transfer and business management. "Not only economic aspect, but environmental sustainability is also very important," she said.
Technology utilization makes the community not depend on nature in production process. Technology use can also shorten the production cycle. Soenarwan added that consuming seaweed is very good for the digestive process.
Suripto (32), one of the seaweed farmers from Suru hamlet in Kemadang mentioned the use of seaweed into Ulva chips is only a side job because seaweed intake mostly depends on natural factor when seaweed starts to grow by the end of rainy season. "We can only harvest it 3-4 months after that," he said.
Raw seaweed is sold to collectors at 10,000 rupiah per kilogram. However, dried seaweed can be sold for 15,000 rupiah per kilogram.