The Better India caught up with the man to document his journey. for industrial utilization in the Tamil Nadu region from 1978-2003. The commute to their vast, wet workplace is a short walk. “Women who harvest seaweed have definitely been impacted, with their incomes coming down by at least 20%.”. In 2000, we started a social initiative of seaweed cultivation in coastal Tamil Nadu. But instead of water, it is agriculture in the sea. An unusual activity of the fisherwomen of Bharathinagar in Tamil Nadu keeps them more in the water than on boats. But climate change and overexploitation of marine resources are eroding their livelihoods When Tata decided to exit the fertiliser business, we were in shock, because they were our customers and they were going out of business. Instead of producing carrageenan at the front-end, they extracted the nutrients before producing the hydrocolloids. Under a United Nations Development Programme initiative, for instance, eco-development committees have been set-up in fishing villages, with women educated on conservation and given training for alternative careers to reduce their dependence on the sea. We were amazed when we found that the effluents were nutrients that could be used for farming.”. Mookupori grew up watching her mother leave home before dawn, board a boat and go to work harvesting in the Gulf of Mannar. Call 08048764917 51% Response Rate. An unusual activity of the fisherwomen of Bharathinagar in Tamil Nadu keeps them more in the water than on boats. This article first appeared on Thomson Reuters Foundation News. “With the rise in sea temperature and salinity, seaweed growth has declined in the last decade,” said K Eswaran, a scientist who heads the field research unit of the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute in Ramanathapuram district. In a blue plastic barrel, Meenakshi Mookupori packed her belongings for a five-day stay on an island in the Indian Ocean, off the Coromandal coast of South India, in March. A Tamil Nadu government report noted at the time that the major environmental threat to the gulf region was quarrying of coral for production of calcium carbide and lime. So we worked with scientific experts to analyse the properties of these effluents. Seth answers, “As a company which produces biostimulants or carrageenan, the competition is huge because we need to build our own market. When seaweed farming was unheard of in India, Abhiram Sethi was driving a project for PepsiCo. 80 Chennai Families Create Sustainable Street, Win Green Award by TN Govt! Tamil Nadu’s seaweed harvesters in rough seas. the fishers to take up seaweed farming on contract basis through Self Help Groups (SHGs). The plant species which were found along the sea – shore was called as “seaweed”. Seaweed can be grown in different ways, but the most common technique in India is using the Single Rope Floating Raft (SRFR) method (Coir Rope & Nylon Rope). The best part about the project is not the production of carrageenans or biostimulants, but the ecosystem it creates for the coastal community. This ensures that they are not forced to migrate to cities for employment, as they can earn a comfortable livelihood in their current situation.”, Is seaweed cultivation profitable? SEAWEED RESEARCH IN INDIA - A NOVEL DOMAIN IN MARINE BIOTECHNOLOGY. Today, Seth’s company works with more than 600 fisherfolk in the restricted districts of Tamil Nadu and cultivates at least 600-800 tonnes of seaweed per year. Fig. Still, “there are more than 600 women who have shifted to cultivating seaweed and that has helped the ecosystem tremendously,” said Eswaran. There are around 300 women, aged between 20–70 years from Chinnapalam in Tamil Nadu, who depend on plucking seaweed for their daily income. It could be observed that the above reviewed works have not been concentrated on problems and prospects of seaweed culture in the costal area of Tamil Nadu and it is the research gap. They are joint venture partners at AquAgri. You May Also Like: This IIT-Delhi Startup’s Innovation Tackles Air Pollution for Just Rs 10! Seaweed were mainly found along the coastal waters of … Unfortunately, even though the government is keen to make seaweed cultivation as a mainstream activity for coastal communities, there are a few impediments. Now 60-year-old Mariamma Masanam, her fingers gnarled after years of harvests, can see conditions shifting. seaweed species which are largely being cultivated by the community in the coast of Malaysia. Extracted from red edible seaweed, carrageenan is widely used in the food industry for its gelling, thickening, and stabilising properties. It would help us if you can follow our Instagram handle and spread the word around. Department of Marine Biotechnology 2, AMET University, Kanathur, Chennai - 603112, Tamil Nadu… If the government supports the cultivation in the gulf areas, it can become a big deal for agriculture.”. However, with few other options to earn a living, the gulf’s seaweed collectors have continued to illegally ply their trade. When the rafts are ready, they are floated on the sea. It’s hard and risky work to pluck seaweed that grows on underwater rocks and dead coral reef adjoining the islands in the Gulf of Mannar. Once seaweed grows on them, in about 45 days or so, they are harvested, and the raft is replanted. “Those days, the seaweed collection was huge. The sea has changed and we also had to.”. 33ARJPP8821G1ZM. Find here Seaweed Extract Fertilizers, Seaweed Powder, Seaweed Fertiliser suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, traders with Seaweed Extract … Scientists find seaweed off Tamil Nadu coast has unique scent Gutka in Tamil Nadu assembly: Madras HC restarts hearing on notices to DMK MLAs Neeti Mohan-Rahul Dua go #FullOn with Galaxy F41. But creation of the marine park meant restrictions on accessing the bay’s 21 uninhabited islands to fish – or to collect seaweed – for 125 local villages. In 1986, the region was declared a national biodiversity park under India’s Wildlife Protection Act and collecting natural resource there was prohibited. “When we were exploring the processing, we realised it would give rise to a lot of effluents and treating them would cost more than the processing. Tamil Nadu –Land of rich biodiversity Tamil Nadu Bio-diversity Rules 2017 . And so, in 2008, when he decided to leave the company, he asked PepsiCo if it would still run the project. 7. Mookupori, 56, is one of nearly 2,000 women in Tamil Nadu state who dive to collect seaweed used in making agar, a gelatinous substance that becomes a thickener in food and medicines. Its wasn’t long before one of its managers, Abhiram Seth, decided to branch out on his own and set up AquaAgri Processing, by buying out PepsiCo India Holding’s seaweed business in Tamil Nadu. “But if we don’t camp on the island, we are unable to collect enough seaweed to sell,” she said, rolling up her sari and slipping into leggings and socks held up by rubber bands. A. Palsamy, president of the Ramanathapuram Fish Workers’ Union, estimates there are no more than 600 women seaweed harvesters across Tamil Nadu’s 940-kilometre coastline. “With just three hours of work a day, a coastal farmer can earn Rs 700-800 a day with a 3×3 m raft. In order to fulfill the gap, the presnts study … But climate change and overexploitation of marine resources are eroding their livelihoods. Ramanathapuram district wildlife warden AS Marimuthu has also seen the changes, and said he was looking for ways to collaborate with the women. They can help farmers reduce the use of chemical fertilisers by 25-30 per cent. This IIT-Delhi Startup’s Innovation Tackles Air Pollution for Just Rs 10! “Shallow coastal waters featuring reefs, such as the ones found in south-east Tamil Nadu, are considered ideal for seaweed farming. He was working as a Director in-charge of exports in agriculture. Agrocart. Wanyoni in 2017 1 with seaweed from the Yasawa Islands, Fiji; Rajasculochana 2,3 from Tamil Nadu in India in 2010 and 2013 has differing levels in different papers. They were reported all along the Indian coastal state waters in variable amount. When the plant is under stress whitening of the … Buying out the business along with the entire team, Seth moved on to start AquAgri, one of the first companies in the country to get into commercial seaweed cultivation. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve located in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills comprises part of adjoining states of Kerala and Karnataka. Seaweed is used in the food and cosmetics industries. Being caught there can carry a fine. Seth explains, “The process of seaweed cultivation is eco-friendly, without the use of chemicals or inorganic inputs.”. None of them harvest between April and June, the main breeding season for fish. Rising sea levels, hotter temperatures and stronger currents along this coast, considered one of the best for commercial seaweed cultivation, are some of the changes Mookupori is seeing. Seaweed farming in Tamil Nadu In Tamil Nadu, cultivation of this seaweed started at Mandapam on the south-east coast of India, during 1995–1997. We are also travelling farther from the coast then we did earlier,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Raised in Delhi, Seth completed his graduation with a degree in Economics from Hindu College. Seth moved on to start AquAgri, one of the first companies in the country to get into commercial seaweed cultivation. If this story inspired you, get in touch with Abhiram Seth at email@example.com or visit their website here. By: reporter August 28, 2020 12:25 pm. Apart from producing carrageenan, which is a binding, food thickening and gelling agent, sold to the food industry, Seth uses the seaweed to produce biostimulants. If you read us, like us and want this positive news movement to grow, then do consider supporting us via the following buttons: Our teams put in a lot of effort to create the content you love at The Better India. … But their biggest push to protect the ecosystem and their livelihoods has been to begin cultivating – as well as harvesting – seaweed. “The anti-poaching officers don’t understand. We at The Better India want to showcase everything that is working in this country. “We only take what we need from the sea, which is seaweed,” Raniamma said. Any story about seaweed farming in India begins and ends in Mandapam, Tamil Nadu.The narrative is invariably the same: the immense potential offered by long coastline and biodiversity and how 900 fish Department of Biotechnology 1, Shanmuga Industries Arts and Science College, Tiruvannamalai - 606601, Tamil Nadu, India. 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But the sea is abundant. As someone who had driven the project for a long time, when the company said that they would shut the programme, I decided to buy it from them.”. Seth suggests that there must be a space between the rafts to prevent overcrowding. At this point, Abhiram and his team decided to reverse the process. Find the top seaweed extract dealers, traders, distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers & suppliers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. “I started accompanying my mother and grandmother to sea when I was eight or 10,” she said, as she helped load cans of drinking water onto the boat. Seth claims that productivity can be much higher when used alongside fertilisers. Tamil Nadu, the southernmost State of the Indian peninsula is spread over 1,30,058 sq.km land mass and accounts for about 4 % of the total area of the country. Other options to earn a sustained income on a contract arrangement with a price. 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