Project Lead: Aqua-Farms Organization (AFO) and Sea PoWer
Support: Received mentoring, training and funds from the second cycle of ORRAA’s Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC), which was financially supported by Swiss Re and the UK’s Blue Planet Fund
Financial Innovation: Microcredit and saving schemes
The climate crisis and unsustainable fishing practices are threatening the livelihoods of vulnerable coastal communities. With ORRAA’s support, Aqua-Farms Organization (AFO) and Sea PoWer are helping to build more resilient livelihoods by rolling out deep-water tubular net seaweed farming technology through microcredit and saving schemes. The project also focuses on training women to produce seaweed using tubular nets, improving financial literacy and helping them add value to their crops.
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.
Climate change impacts including sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and warming waters, as well as unsustainable fishing practices are negatively impacting fish stocks in Tanzania. Innovation is needed to help coastal communities build financial resilience and adapt to fast changing climate and ocean risks.
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.