This paper examines the characteristics of small-scale seaweed farming in South Sulawesi, assesses the role of middlemen in supporting seaweed production and marketing, and details the pattern of the local seaweed procurement chain. The research uses data gathered through interviews and focus group discussions with 220 seaweed farmers, as well as traders and middlemen, in Takalar and Jeneponto districts. The findings revealed that seaweed farmers tend to be involved in both seaweed farming (mostly Eucheuma cottonii) and capture fisheries, yet seaweed farming is the main source of household income. Middlemen were found to play a crucial role in production and marketing, in particular through provision of financial capital and collection or purchase of dried seaweed. While this research highlights the growing dependence of many fishing communities on seaweed farming and the importance of middlemen, it also points to potential concerns. Among them is the unclear definition of farm ownership leading to conflicting claims among interested parties—an important issue that will require concerted government intervention. The authors also note the need for ecological research to assess the environmental impact of intensive seaweed farming.

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