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India promoting seaweed cultivation by fisherwomen

August 29, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

The Times of India is reporting that the government plans to promote seaweed cultivation in coastal areas by involving fisherwomen. “The demand for seaweeds has increased over the years. Odisha (the ninth largest state of India located on the southeastern coastline) offers perfect conditions for growth of…marine algae,” said project supervisor and director of the Centre for Environment Studies (CES), Sailabala Padhi.

Red algae is currently being cultivated in two costal villages of Gokharakuda and Purunabandh in the Ganjam district on a pilot basis by involving various self-help groups (SHGs). The project for cultivation of Kappaphycus alvarezii, a species of red algae, was taken up with the technical guidance of CES under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), a state program of government assistance launched in 2007 as a part of the 11th Five Year Plan by the Government of India. Under the aegis of the National Development Council, it seeks to achieve 4% annual growth in agriculture through development of agriculture and its allied sectors.

“Since red algae is much in demand in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, the lower income group of the coastal villages, particularly fisherwomen, will be able to earn a few extra bucks by growing these,” said Padhi, a retired professor of botany in Berhampur University.

She said the seeds of the Kappaphycus alvarezii were brought from a group which had successfully cultivated seaweeds near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. The SHG members were taken to Rameswaram for practical experience.

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