Home Crops Supporting sustainable seaweed farming for East Africa’s coastal communities

Supporting sustainable seaweed farming for East Africa’s coastal communities

by Grace Kisembo

The new partnership between Cargill and The Nature Conservancy which will be conducted in collaboration with the government and citizens of Zanzibar aims to improve seaweed production, boost local incomes while conserving marine environments in Tanzania.

The partnership will see all parties help seaweed farmers adopt better practices to restore coastal ecosystems and improve livelihoods in Tanzania.

The aim is to provide farmers with adequate support and access to the right infrastructures, to ensure an efficient and sustainable seaweed supply chain.

Seaweed farming is one of Zanzibar’s largest export businesses which employs more than 25,000 people, 80% of whom are women.

Due to its use in a wide range of products such as confectionery, yoghurts and cosmetics, international buyers are allegedly predicting an increased demand for seaweed.

“Our research shows that when farmed well, seaweed has the unique ability to improve ocean health by providing benefits to water quality and providing habitat for wild fish, in addition to providing a low impact form of jobs in rural coastal communities,” said Robert Jones, global lead for aquaculture for The Nature Conservancy.

He added: “And we’ve determined that the marine areas in which seaweed farming is most established in Tanzania are among the highest priority locations to protect anywhere in Africa.”

In the first year of the project, The Nature Conservancy says it will train more than 100 farmers on how best to site, design, and manage their farms and to increase yields while also reducing negative farming impacts.

Working with seaweed farming communities, the programme will train individuals to be ‘village implementers’ to mentor other farmers.

The programme is part of a broader collaboration between The Nature Conservancy and Cargill aimed at ensuring sustainable food and agricultural production for future generations.

It builds on Cargill’s Red Seaweed Promise, launched in 2019, which seeks to address sustainability challenges for the harvesting and cultivation of red seaweed.

Sebastien Jan, seaweed sourcing and sustainability project manager at Cargill, said: “This new partnership with The Nature Conservancy is one among various initiatives we are excited to announce today that will focus on empowering seaweed producers, improving production and harvesting practices, community support and strengthening partnerships, our four impact areas to deliver on our promise.”

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