Q. What is the news?
The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) has launched a Seaweed Mission.
Q. What is its Background?
- Out of the global seaweed production of 32 million tons fresh weight valued around 12 billion US dollars, China produces 57%, Indonesia 28% followed by South Korea, whereas India is having a mere share of 0.01-0.02%.
- Despite several advantages, commercial seaweeds cultivation has not taken place in the country at an appropriate scale, as being practiced in South-East Asian countries.
Q. What about the Mission?
- It has been launched for commercial farming of seaweeds and its processing for value addition towards boosting the national economy.
- It envisages following activities:
- Establishing model demonstration farms over one hectare for cultivation of economically important seaweeds in nearshore and onshore along the Indian coast.
- Establishment of seaweed nurseries for supplying seed material for large scale farming of economically important seaweeds in the country.
- Establishment and demonstration of processing technologies/recipes for edible seaweeds in line with consumer acceptability or cultural food habits.
- An activity on seaweed cluster development including value chain development, supply chain development, collection of data on environmental, economic and social impacts of seaweed projects in the country.
Q. What are its advantages?
A. By an estimate, if seaweed cultivation is done in 10 million hectares or 5% ofthe Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area of India, it can
- Provide employment to 50 million people.
- Set up a new seaweed industry.
- Contribute to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- Enhance ocean productivity.
- Abate algal blooms.
- Sequester millions of tons CO2.
- Could produce bioethanol of 6.6 billion litres.