The 2nd Mindanao Seaweed Congress, to be held in the Philippines April 25-26, will aim at expanding the region's seaweed sector beyond simple production to processing in the face of growing international competition, BusinessWorld (Philippines) reports. The annual event is expected to gather more than 350 representatives from the sector's chain of allied industries, including producers, processors, buyers, traders and farming input suppliers. "This year's meeting will be an opportunity for us to design industry-wide strategies and systems for dealing with global competition," said Adam Oman, chairperson of the WMSIDF. Western Mindanao, including the island provinces of Basilan, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi, produces most of Mindanao's seaweed. This southern region is the lead supplier of raw seaweed in the country, accounting for 73 per cent of total production. The Philippines is currently the fourth largest supplier of seaweed in the international market. Euchema seaweed, the most commonly grown variety, is processed to form a colloid called carrageenin, which has a wide range of industrial uses. It is used as a stabiliser, binder and thickener for a variety of consumer products, including ice cream, beer, toothpaste, air freshener, pet food, cosmetics and other processed food and non-food products.