Seaweed Restorative Farming Takes Root in Kenya

Biodiversity loss highlights the critical need for conservation, preservation, and restoration of vital ecosystem elements, like seaweed in the marine environment.

Seaweed plays a crucial role in supporting livelihoods, particularly for coastal communities, providing a nutritious food source and export product. Seaweed uses span various areas, including as food in sushi, salads, soups, and beverages.

It’s also used in industrial sectors such as pharmaceuticals, aquatic animal feed, cosmetics, textiles, bio-packaging, and in environmental projects ranging from carbon capture to renewable energy production

In Kwale County, Kenya, over 300 farmers have embraced seaweed farming, recognizing its high productivity potential. Seaweed farming plays an important role for the majority of the vulnerable communities who stay along the coastal lines considering its benefits for production and manufacturing.

A collaborative effort between Kwale County, The Nature Conservancy in Africa, and the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, has facilitated an eight-day training program on “Restorative Seaweed Farming” from June 3rd to 10th, 2024.

This initiative targeted three villages – Mtimbwani, Kijiweni, and Changai – and involved a unique blend of theory-based classroom sessions and practical field and “in-water” training.

The training program has established three demonstration seaweed farms in each village, promoting wider comprehension and encouraging community participation. Furthermore, 15 community members and partners have been identified as Training Trainers (ToTs) to extend the program to other villages.

The Nature Conservancy in Africa aims to expand the training to at least 10 villages in Kwale County within the next three years, ensuring the adoption of best farming practices.

This comprehensive approach, combining theory and practical application, brings seaweed best management practices to life, making the training engaging and effective.

“This surpasses the typical workshops as it blends theory-based ‘in-classroom’ and field-based ‘in-water’ training sessions. An approach that brings the biology, ecology, and community-based seaweed best management practices processes to life, making it more engaging and effective,” said The Nature Conservancy in a statement.

The initiative not only promotes sustainable livelihoods but also contributes to positive environmental outcomes through increased productivity along the Indian Ocean coastline.

Leave a reply