Skip to content

We need seaweed on the seashore


Farming seaweed on Paje Beach,  Zanzibar,  February 2018

Seaweed farming is a key source of income for many rural women on the island of Zanzibar, and the export of their hard earned produce is an important national industry, with the resulting food, cosmetics and medicines reaching a range of countries, including China, Korea, Vietnam, Denmark, Spain, France and USA.

At low tide, the beach is spattered with sticks, seaweed and brightly attired local women. The colours of the traditional kanjis, worn as both headgear and clothing, suggest a more cheerful and easygoing job than this is in reality.  Nimble fingers tie bundle after bundle of seaweed seedlings to strands of string, then attach that string to a stick and forcibly plunge it deep into the sand.  My own attempts revealed that I don’t have the required levels of either patience or strength.  As the tide rises, the women head to land to process their gathered produce, whilst the newly planted greenery submerges to grow beneath the incoming seawater.

Sadly, climate change is taking its toll on this industry.  Increasing temperatures mean that the seaweed is struggling to grow in its ever warming bath water and more planting is required to produce the same amount of usable seaweed.  Adaptations are being made, with floating strings in deeper, cooler, water but that requires new skills and equipment, such as boats and swimming.  The positive news is that organisations such as Farm Africa are supporting these farmers with training in deep water and production of new products.





Copyright Debbie Smyth, 1 March 2018

Posted as part of Cee’s B&W Challenge

8 replies »

  1. Brilliant photo, Debbie, and highly pertinent commentary. Climate change is having a major impact on the equatorial regions and marginal small businesses. In Africa where women are usually the main growers – they will bear the brunt first.


  2. I happen to like seaweed – it tastes a little like salty spinach:) love the romantic mood in the black and wh.


Come join the conversation:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,367 other followers

Popular Posts

Sitting pretty where tides can't reach
Watery lines
On the right lines
Which way?
Broadstairs to Margate: an easy coastal walk
%d bloggers like this: