Technology Information, Forecasting, and Assessment Council (TIFAC) has launched a Seaweed Mission for commercial farming of seaweeds and its processing for value addition towards boosting the national economy.
The Mission envisages the following activities:
- Establishing model demonstration farms over one hectare for the cultivation of economically important seaweeds in nearshore and onshore along the Indian coast
- Establishment of seaweed nurseries for supplying seed material for large scale farming of economically important seaweeds in the country
- Onshore cultivation for (i) Seedling supply facility (ii) Seaweed cultivation for processing
- Setting up of processing plant for integrated production of plant growth stimulants (sap) along with industrially important cell wall polysaccharides (phycocolloids) such as agar, agarose, carrageenan, and alginates from fresh seaweeds
Out of the global seaweed production of ~ 32 million tons fresh weight valued around 12 billion US dollars.
- China produces ~57 %, Indonesia ~28% followed by South Korea, whereas India is having a mere share of ~0.01-0.02%.
- Despite several advantages, commercial seaweed cultivation has not been taken place in the country at an appropriate scale, as being practiced in South-East Asian countries.
- By an estimate, if cultivation is done in ≈10 million hectares or 5% of the EEZ area of India, it can provide employment to ~ 50 million people; set up new seaweed industry; contribute to national GDP; ocean productivity; abates algal blooms, sequesters millions of tons CO2; Healthier ocean; bio-ethanol of 6.6 billion liters.