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AFO pic no 4 – seaweed

Developing Micro Credit and Savings Schemes to Upgrade to Tubular Nets for Seaweed Farming – AFO / Sea PoWer

Developing Micro Credit and Savings Schemes to Upgrade to Tubular Nets for Seaweed Farming – AFO / Sea PoWer

Project Lead: Aqua-Farms Organization (AFO) / Sea PoWer
Support: Received mentoring and capacity building support from the second cycle of the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC 2022), which was financially supported by the Swiss Re Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Blue Planet Fund.
Location: Tanzania, East Africa
Financial Innovation: Microcredit and saving schemes

Summary 

As the supply of fish and seafood through traditional fishing methods becomes less sustainable because of global warming, the challenge is to replace it sustainably through aquaculture. With ORRAA’s support, Aqua-Farms Organization (AFO), working with Sea PoWer, is rolling out deep-water tubular net seaweed farming technology through microcredit and saving schemes. The project focuses on training women how to produce seaweed using tubular nets as well as improving financial literacy.

Founded in 2017, AFO is a youth-led, non-governmental organization, based in Tanzania. Its mission is to replenish aquatic resources with community-based conservation and nature-based sustainable aquaculture. AFO seeks to enhance food access and income security to coastal communities through research, education and training in collaboration with sustainable fisheries. It also aims to empower young people and women in the aquatic resources space and add to the resource base of local experts and implementers.

Challenge 

Erosion linked to sea level rise and unsustainable fishing practices impacting fish stocks are examples of the real effects of climate change for areas like coastal Tanzania. It risks further marginalising already vulnerable communities, leading to non-sustainable use of natural resources also at a local level. The need to innovate is a critical pathway to avoid the accelerating climate and ocean risks that these local communities face.

Solution

AFO, working with Sea PoWer, aims to create resilient coastal communities by supporting sustainable use of ocean resources. Sea PoWer promotes women seaweed farmers’ empowerment by building their capacity to adopt tubular nets – a deep-water seaweed farming innovation resilient to climate change, that is nature positive. Sea PoWer also seeks to improve women’s working conditions, develop new skills – including financial literacy – and help them add value to their crops. The seaweed produced is then a resource that can be used for production of a range of products, as well as sold into the growing global market of seaweed.

Scalability and Next Steps

With ORRAA’s support, AFO and Sea PoWer will help scale this seaweed farming technology along Tanzania’s coastline. Seaweed farmers will be given access to microcredit and saving schemes so they can purchase and maintain this new equipment. Concurrently, AFO and Sea PoWer will also train women in financial literacy and how to produce seaweed derived products such as soap, shampoo, lotions, juice, jam, salads, cakes and noodles. In this way more value add takes place in-country, leaving more profits on the table for the local communities.

Some of the AFO team
Jerry Mang’ena, Executive Director, AFO