The Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP) is celebrating following the increased international demand for seaweed products, which has led chairman Lee Hiong T. Wee to forecast export earnings for this year that are up 20% on last year's figures.Wee's comments came yesterday (5 October) and he explained that the increased revenue "is because of stronger demand due to lower prices. In the last two to three years, because of the El Nino, [which caused warmer sea temperatures and slashed output], the price of seaweed went up and demand weakened. But now because of our low prices, [international buyers] are coming back." Since 1997, the price of seaweed per kilo has dropped from P32 to P22. Seaweed farming is the livelihood of over 1m Filipinos, and the country controls 70% of the world seaweed market, exporting dried seaweed and the stabiliser and emulsifier carrageenin. This stake is expected to gross P5.52bn this year.