Launched by non-profit Grow-Trees, it aims to improve the lives of fishers, at a time when global seaweed production is set to double in value, to reach $26 billion by 2025.
“We are providing equipment and expertise to fishing communities via a seaweed cultivation project in Munaikkadu, Mandapam Camp, Ramnad District, Tamil Nadu. This is being done to increase the income and self-sufficiency of the coastal community and subsequently, these women can train more marginalised communities to augment their earnings. We will of course fund the training and equipment and will leverage this experience to expand this module to other marginalised communities along the coast of India,” said Bikrant Tiwary, CEO of Grow-Trees, in a press release.
Over 750 people are set to benefit from the project, according to Grow-Trees.
“Only 15 families right now own seaweed cultivation equipment while the others earn a meagre livelihood. Empowering this community is the long-term goal of Grow-Trees.com,” the organisation notes.
Hanifa Begum from Munaikkadu is one such beneficiary, who said: “My husband is a fisherman but his income is not sufficient to sustain the family. Grow-Trees.com gave us two rafts and also taught us how to cultivate seaweed in an efficient way. We are hopeful that a good harvest will help us lead a better life and also educate our children. I thank Grow-Trees.com and the Annai Theresa Trust.”
Muthulakshmi is another resident of Munaikkadu who has now started seaweed cultivation.
“My husband is an auto-driver and we were struggling to make two ends meet. Now two rafts from Grow-Trees.com have really helped us augment our income and educate our children comfortably,” she said.
“These livelihood issues can be solved very simply. A single bamboo raft priced at Rs 2000 can be used to plant over 70 kg of seaweed seedlings and after 45 days, almost 230 kg of seaweed can be harvested and sold for Rs.65 to 70 per kg. Hence if a family has 40 to 45 such bamboo rafts, it can earn over Rs.800 per day and become self-sufficient. We call this scheme, the ‘Blue Revolution’ as it can help fishing communities to earn even when the fishing output becomes sporadic and unreliable. It can also help communities in need to supply much-in-demand raw material to industries manufacturing agar, agarose, carrageenan and alginates,” said Tiwary.