Aquaculture for all

Seaweed firm unlocks aquaculture potential in Zanzibar

Sustainability Restorative aquaculture Processing +5 more

The Zanzibar Seaweed Company (ZASCO) - a state-owned firm - has entered a memorandum of understanding with Tanzania’s NMB Bank with the aim of boosting the island’s seaweed farming industry.

Seaweed farmers.
ZASCO has begun construction of what it hopes will be the largest seaweed processing plant in Africa

© Hatch

The Zanzibar Seaweed Company has announced a memorandum of understanding with Tanzania’s NMB Bank, in a move which aims to bolster the island’s seaweed sector with a focus on enhancing the productivity of smallholder seaweed farms and increasing the market value of seaweed products through processing.

The agreement comes as ZASCO begins construction of a large seaweed processing facility, reported to be costing 8 billion Tanzanian shillings - almost €3 million. Through the construction of the processing facility, the seaweed firm aims to process all seaweed before export, thereby enabling smallholders to obtain better prices in the global market.

“This will become not only the largest seaweed processing plant in Tanzania but also across the entire African continent,” said Dr. Masoud Rashid Mohammed, director general at ZASCO, in a report from Farmers Review Africa.

Despite the comparatively small size of the region, the Zanzibar seaweed farming sector is flourishing, with recent industry analysis suggesting that Zanzibar produces 23,000 tonnes of seaweed annually, with women making up 90 percent of growers.

Commenting on the potential of the agreement to promote sustainable economic development in Zanzibar, NMB’s chief of retail banking Mr Filbert Mponzi said: “Our primary focus will involve enhancing the productivity of smallholder seaweed farmers in Zanzibar through the provision of customised banking solutions, financial education, and technical training directly at the grassroots level.”

Mr. Omar Said Shabani, Minister of Trade and Industrial Development in Zanzibar, also commented on the prospects of the seaweed industry: “The global market value of seaweed exceeds that of cloves. With significant investment, particularly in seaweed value addition, Zanzibar will be better positioned to earn more foreign exchange.”

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