ConservationNews

Seaweed farming: Stakeholders seek solutions to boost industry

Dar es Salaam. Stakeholders and seaweed farmers gathered to discuss the various challenges faced in the production of seaweed, with the government welcoming their recommendations.

The meeting, organized by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), took place at the Mlimani City conference hall on June 5, 2024. During the two-hour session, participants identified technology, pricing, middlemen, and policies as significant obstacles in the industry.

Despite seaweed’s potential, the market remains unstable, and many Tanzanians lack awareness of its benefits, as highlighted by Kombo Kizanda, a seaweed farmer from Mafia Island.

“The understanding of seaweed’s benefits remains a challenge among us. I suggest that educational programs be prepared for television to inform people about its medicinal properties. Additionally, the quality of seaweed decreases when dried on the ground due to the lack of proper technology,” Kizanda noted.

Seaweeds

Dr Flower Msuya, a Senior Researcher and Independent Consultant, pointed out the lack of cooperation among seaweed farmers as another significant issue.

“There needs to be a recognized area among farmers to avoid conflicts. Moreover, we must invest adequately in this sector,” Dr Msuya emphasized.

Dr Modesta Medard, WWF Tanzania’s Marine Program Leader, stated that intermediaries who set prices have become a problem as they do not allow farmers, the primary producers, a say in pricing.

“We want fair prices. There must be negotiation power for the farmers themselves, not middlemen who stand between the farmer and the buyer,” Dr Medard asserted.

Stakeholders in a meeting

Stakeholders also advocated for selling fresh seaweed and establishing a process to market it in its fresh form, similar to other marine products like fish. Responding to these concerns, Dr Nazael Madalla, Director of the Aquaculture Division from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, emphasized the need for policies, strategies, and action plans, as well as recognizing designated farming areas.

“We have taken all your recommendations on board, including the drying technology for seaweed, and we urge stakeholders like WWF to develop more technologies,” Dr Madalla said.

He also mentioned the importance of exhibitions to educate the public about seaweed.

Dr Masoud Rashid Mohamed, Director General of the Government’s Seaweed Company under the Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development in Zanzibar (ZASCO), mentioned the establishment of a large seaweed factory in Zanzibar to address these challenges.

A panel discussion

“We aim to produce millions of tons of seaweed through government efforts, and the factory is expected to start operations soon, allowing farmers to deliver their produce directly without intermediaries and ensuring better prices. We want the future price of seaweed to at least match the price of a kilogram of rice, considering its numerous benefits, including carbon sequestration,” Dr Mohamed stated.

Earlier, Dr Amani Ngusaru, WWF Tanzania Country Director, said their goal is to assist the government in advancing this sector by discovering various technologies and increasing production.

This collaborative effort between the government, NGOs, and farmers aims to address the challenges and harness the potential of the seaweed industry in Tanzania.

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