This Social Organisation Helps TN Fishermen To Earn Sustainable Livelihood From Seaweed Cultivation

Image Credits: Grow-Trees.com

This Social Organisation Helps TN Fishermen To Earn Sustainable Livelihood From Seaweed Cultivation

The organisation provides equipment and expertise to fishing communities via a seaweed cultivation project in Munaikkadu, Mandapam Camp, Ramnad District, Tamil Nadu to increase the income and self-sufficiency of the coastal community.

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Seaweeds known as the wonder plants of the sea are increasingly being seen as potential game-changers in over 46 industries. Research says this magical macroscopic alga could help counter food and energy crises and even provide medicinal solutions to treat serious diseases.

Seaweed may also serve as an alternative to single-use plastic and recent experiments have used it to create sustainable and biodegradable packaging for drinks and sauces. Seaweed is immensely economical to grow and can thrive without fertilisers, freshwater or active human intervention and even helps sequestration of carbon. Globally, countries are waking up to its potential and while seaweed production was worth around $12 billion in 2019, it is expected to grow to $26 billion by 2025.

While China and Indonesia have cornered 80 per cent of the market share of seaweed, India faces a short supply of this natural resource due to pollution, heedless harvesting, and inadequate farming knowledge. With its 8,000-kilometre coastline, India is now aiming to augment production to more than one million tons each year by 2025 and that is why social organisation Grow-Trees.com has stepped in to do its bit.

After China, Korea, and Japan, India too is in the fray to benefit from seaweed cultivation and Grow-Trees.com is helping the country along this path with its expertise.

Seaweed Cultivation Project

The organisation provides equipment and expertise to fishing communities via a seaweed cultivation project in Munaikkadu, Mandapam Camp, Ramnad District, Tamil Nadu to increase the income and self-sufficiency of the coastal community. Subsequently, they train more marginalised communities to augment their earnings.

"Of course, we will fund the training and equipment and leverage this experience to expand this module to other marginalised communities along the coast of India," Bikrant Tiwary, CEO of Grow-Trees.com shared with The Logical Indian.

The current beneficiaries of this project are over 750 people. Only 15 families now own seaweed cultivation equipment while the others earn a meagre livelihood. Empowering this community is the long-term goal of Grow-Trees.com.

Hanifa Begum from Munaikkadu is one such beneficiary. She says, "My husband is a fisherman, but his income is insufficient to sustain the family. Grow-Trees.com gave us two rafts and taught us how to cultivate seaweed efficiently. We hope that a good harvest will help us lead a better life and educate our children."

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 helped us augment our income and educate our children comfortably," she said.

Tiwary pointed out that a single bamboo raft priced at Rs 2000 can be used to plant over 70 kgs of seaweed seedlings and after 45 days, almost 230 kg of seaweed can be harvested and sold for Rs.65 to 70 per kg. 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 materials to industries manufacturing Agar, Agarose, Carrageenan, and Alginates," he said.

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