Making Tamil Nadu “a one-stop destination for the seaweed sector”

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
28 September 2022, at 11:48am

Indian officials have voiced their ambitions for the growth of the seaweed sector at the Seaweed India Conference, which opened in Chennai today.

man cutting a ceremonial ribbon
A Karthik inaugurating the Seaweed India Conference in Chennai

Unveiling the state government’s plan to upscale seaweed farming, A Karthik, principal secretary, animal husbandry, dairying, fisheries and fishermen welfare department said: “We are creating a unique opportunity for the investors and entrepreneurs to make Tamil Nadu a one-stop destination for the seaweed sector.”

“The government is on a mission mode to uplift the seaweed farming in the state with an integrated, tech-savvy and end-to-end approach catering to the need of fishers, industries and new entrepreneurs of the seaweed industry,” added Karthik.

Karthik also said that the proposed multi-purpose seaweed park would facilitate technology adoption for productivity enhancement, environmental improvement and the creation of sustainable livelihood opportunities to coastal people.

“The park with an investment of Rs. 1277.2 million will also offer a well-organised production system, strengthen infrastructure and competent institutions for optimum utilisation of coastal resources”, he added. The state government has already identified suitable lands for the proposed project in Ramanathapuram and Pudukottai districts, he said.

He also outlined how the seaweed sector offers opportunities for underprivileged sectors of the population, in particular women.

“In India, the bolstering of the seaweed industry will have an edge on coastal people in Tamil Nadu especially fisherwomen as seaweed farming is a traditional practice in the state. Seaweed farming by fisherwomen of Mandapam is well-documented,” Karthik said, adding that the government had also long supported the seaweed farmers through various schemes.

However, he said, despite various efforts, the potential of seaweed farming at home remains unrealised.

“The current annual demand of seaweed in Tamil Nadu for industrial use is about 115,000 tonnes, while the current production is staggering around 15,000 tonnes, which is 13 percent of the installed processing capacity,” Karthik added. Moreover, seaweed farming can also be used for carbon trading. The full potential of the seaweed is yet to be realised and we are on a rewarding journey, he said.

The conference is being attended by a diverse stake comprising industry majors, start-ups, women entrepreneurs, eminent researchers, experts, technocrats and policymakers.

Dr JK Jena, deputy director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) highlighted the research advancements made by the ICAR towards popularising seaweed farming in Inda. Dr KS Palanisamy, Tamil Nadu Fisheries Commissioner highlighted the preparedness of various initiatives of the Fisheries Department, including the seaweed park.

Seaweed India 2022 is organised with the support of the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu in association with various government agencies, industry representatives and research institutions.