Philippines firm ups carrageenan production

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Philippines-based company PCI Worldwide is investing P27.6 million
(€400,000) into the production and export of carrageenan, a gum
that is derived from red seaweed and is commonly used as an
additive in the food industry.

According to the Filipino Department of Trade, the company is due to build a new processing facility in Carmona town, just outside Manila, where both processed and raw carrageenan will be produced. The seaweed itself comes from coastal areas of Mindanoa, but there are plans to extend shipments from other island regions such as Mindoro and Palawan.

The Department of trade says that seaweed farming is expected to be developed in these other areas, in tandem with the development of the carageenan processing industry. This process will also be helped by the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

PCI added that it had plans to start up commercial operations this March, after the Philippines government assured the company that there is a significant market for the product.

The project is part of a larger scheme by the government to set up commercial businesses in some of the country's more rural region. Often in these regions unemployment is extremely high as little or no industry exists.

Trade and Industry Undersecretary Elmer Hernandez said. "Among the support that is provided to these projects are tax incentives such as income tax holiday, tax credit in raw materials, and duty-free importation of capital equipment."

Carrageenan is a gum that is used as a texturant for a variety of processed foods, especially for meat. The Philippines is currently the only country in the world that processes the product and is increasingly supplying the rapidly expanding China market, where it has become a popular additive in processed meats.

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