Seaweed farmers up in arms

[Tanzania] Seaweed farmers in Zanzibar say the government’s commitment in improving farming has not been put into practice as the selling price of their commodity remains small.

“The government has been encouraging us to increase seaweed production, promising to improve the farming environment including ensuring reliable a market with good prices, but not much is done to help growers. May be we should keep waiting,” Ms Khadija Omar said.

Ms Omar made the comments at Jambiani Coastal Village where seaweed farmers and other stakeholders gathered to discuss the challenges they face. Other farmers joined Ms Omar at the gathering to appeal for support from the government, mainly to provide farming equipment and increase selling prices from the current 400/= to a least double it. The meeting was organized by the JICA Alumni Association of Tanzania (JATA) with support from ‘Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“The aim of the workshop was to sensitize and mobilize seaweed farmers into joining seaweed cluster organizations; bring the seaweed farmers together with the objectives of finding one voice in solving challenges in seaweed value chain and marketing so as to improve living standard of the ommunity; and to raise public awareness on JICAs activities in the country,” Mr Omar Kassim, the JATA vice chairperson said.

Workshop participants who also included field visits to see the problems and opportunities along the value chain were drawn from Jambiani, Makunduchi, Bubwini and Bwejuu villages. They are among the more than 24,000 people mainly youths and women engaged in seaweed farming.

Mr Toshi Nagase a JICA Representative, said his agency will continue supporting the development of the seaweed in the country, as the Minister responsible for farming and fishing Mr Hamad Rashid Mohamed encouraged farmers not to get disappointed.

“As the government continues to find solutions to challenges, I urge seaweed farmers to form clusters so as to acquire processing skills to produce different items,” Minister Mohamed said.


View original article at: Seaweed farmers up in arms

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