Socio-economic dimensions of Seaweed Farming in India

Krishnan, M and Narayanakumar, R (2010) Socio-economic dimensions of Seaweed Farming in India. CMFRI Special Publication (104). pp. 1-78.

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Abstract

The Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu was identified as the target location for studying the structure, conduct and performance of seaweed farming in India in view of its historical background, locational advantages, industry interactions, socio-economic institutional framework and opportunities for expansion and growth. For these reasons, the Ramanathapuram district has long been recognized as the center of the seaweed farming in India. Although 434 species of red seaweeds, 194 species of brown seaweeds and 216 species of green seaweeds naturally occur in India, it was only until the beginning of the twenty-first century that the country made any concrete progress towards organized seaweed farming. The tardy progress was caused by a number of factors including locational disadvantages, inconsistent performance of species for commercial exploitation, absence of a complete package of farming practices, and industry and policy support. Although the commercial potential of Kappaphycus alvarezii had been previously recognized and its culture technology had been perfected by the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), culture at a commercial scale only began when PepsiCo India Holdings Ltd (PepsiCo) made its entry into the venture with a pilot-scale investment in the early 2000s. The entry of PepsiCo turned out to be decisive, acting as a catalyst to rejevunate the industry-institutional linkages. The concept of Self Help Groups (SHG) spearheaded by the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) also led to rapid development in the Mandapam area of Ramanathapuram, which soon became the hub of seaweed farming in the country. Self Help Groups in the fishing villages of Vedalai, Thonithurai, Ariyankkundu and R. Vadakadu currently operate more than 1,000 rafts. Many of the SHGs have been able to obtain a yield of more than 50 kg per raft per day (dry weight). Based on findings from this study, seaweed farming offered 161 and 144 days of employment per annum in the Rameshwaram and Mandapam areas, respectively. With current development projections targeting 5,000 families in the near future, the seaweed sector could generate around 765 thousand man-days of employment in the Ramanathapuram district. It has been estimated that India can produce one million tonnes of x dried seaweed and provide employment to 200 thousand families with annual earnings of around ` 0.1 million per family. The annual turnover of Kappaphycus seaweed farming alone can be safely estimated to be ` 2.0 billion. Spearheaded by private investments, the clear institutional and financial support of the Government of India through development agencies and research establishments has been fundamental for the development of the sector. The distinct possibility of expansion of operations based on successful commercial trials in sites in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat will give a significant boost to the sector. Seaweed farming has all the potential to rise from a low-income livelihood activity into a reasonably profitable commercial enterprise in coastal India.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Seaweed; Socio economics
Subjects:Socio Economic and Extension
CMFRI Special Publication
Algae > Seaweed
Divisions:CMFRI-Cochin > Fishery Extension
ID Code:6926
Deposited By:Edwin Joseph
Deposited On:12 Jan 2011 15:55
Last Modified:24 Sep 2013 13:03

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