Monday, April 4, 2011

Seaweed cultivation to take off soon in Orissa.


Seaweed cultivation in the state is set to be taken up for the first time in coastal villages of Ganjam.
This is being done under the 'Green Micro Finance Project', implemented jointly by National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) and Orissa Rural ORRA is a non-governmental organization (NGO) which was launched recently at Langaleswar under Khallikote block in Ganjam district, for taking up seaweed cultivation, particularly the red algae, on commercial basis. 

"As the red algae is in much demand in agar-agar, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries in the country, we hope that the lower income groups (LIG) of the coastal villages, particularly the fishermen in the coastal villages, will get an opportunity to earn additional income,” said Smita Sucharita Nayak, executive director of ORRA.

The demand for seaweeds is increasing worldwide as its extracts are widely used in tooth-paste, ice-cream, textile printing, teeth filling, cosmetics, tissue culture, plywood, packaging and several other industries. Besides, bio-fuels are manufactured from sea weeds.

“Despite low investment, seaweed cultivation is very profitable. It also helps to combat global warming,” said Nayak.“We would start cultivation of seaweed on commercial basis by involving around 150 womenfolk of 16 SHGs in three villages. The harvest will be made after 45 days of the cultivation. We would also explore the possibilities of taking up this operation at Bhitarakania in Kendrapara district,” she added.
ORRA has entered into an agreement with the MS Swaminathan Foundation to buy all the dry red algae harvested by the womenfolk in the area.“It will provide an alternative livelihood for the fishermen families when the fish landing at the Chilika is dwindling,” said MLA (Khallikote) PC Sethi.

He launched the project in the presence of several other dignitaries including the Chief General Manager of Nabard, CR Patnaik and the State Information Commission, Jagadananda.

The cultivation of red algae was started on a pilot basis about two years back as a part of the research project of Berhampur University on 'Development and Demonstration of Appropriate Strategies for Marine Algae Cultivation and Processing for Livelihood Generation in Coastal Areas of Orissa'. Sailabala Padhy, former professor of Botany, Berhampur University, was the principal investigator of the project.

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