Seaweed farming was first introduced to the island of Zanzibar in 1988 and currently employs around 24000 people, most of whom are rural woman. Harvesting and tending of the crops, which are laid out in grids using short poles buried into the seabed, takes place during low tide and often involves backbreaking work to lift and move sacks of seaweed to areas where this will be dried out for processing. Much of the crop is exported although there is a thriving and locally based cosmetics industry that supplies a number of stores in Stone Town and some of the islands many resorts.
It is backbreaking work, with many of the woman suffering from injuries incurred from stepping on rocks, coral and other objects buried into the sand, along with complications as a result of spending many long, hot hours submerged in salt water whilst tending to their ‘farms’.
© GCM | Farm Africa | 2018