For many years, sustainable seaweed farming has been practiced for the revitalization of village-level economy of small-scale fishermen in Laikang Bay. This study sought to identify the characteristics of small-scale seaweed farming in South Sulawesi Province in Indonesia, to assess the roles of middlemen in supporting seaweed production and marketing, and to investigate the marketing channels of dried seaweed products there in. This study adopted structured and semi-structured questionnaires as qualitative approach, and interviews were conducted with 220 seaweed farmers in Takalar and Jeneponto Districts. Interviewing with trader and middleman were also conducted. The data obtained were evaluated using descriptive statistics to summarize and compare the data set. Findings showed that most of the respondents (seaweed farmers) had two main livelihood activities, namely seaweed farming mainly Eucheuma cottonii and sustenance fishing activity with seaweed farming giving bigger contributions to household income. They were usually supported by particular middlemen to meet the capital and marketing requirements of their production of dried seaweed. Fishermen could usually get capital investment and daily operational funds through a quick process from the middlemen, without any interest payment. Thus, the middlemen occupy a crucial position in the production and marketing dynamics of the seaweed trade in the study area.
Key words: Sustainable livelihood, marketing channel, patron-client, middlemen, fishery.
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