NMB, ZASCO partner to unlock seaweed farming potentials

NMB Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with state-owned Zanzibar Seaweed Company (ZASCO) that seeks to unlock the potential of seaweed farming in the island.

NMB Chief Retail Banking, Mr Filbert Mponzi, said at the weekend that the move aligns with the bank’s ambitious strategy of supporting sustainable economic development in Zanzibar.

“This MoU reaffirms our commitment to support Zanzibar’s Blue Economy agenda. Our biggest role will be to increase the efficiency of smallholder seaweed farmers in Zanzibar by providing tailor-made banking products, financial literacy as well as technical training right at grassroots level,” Mr Mponzi said.

NMB, one of the leading banks in the country, has been at the forefront in supporting Zanzibar’s Blue Economy agenda, adding that the signed MoU with ZASCO won’t only help in value addition but also increase the Isles foreign exchange earnings.

Earlier, ZASCO Director General Dr Masoud Rashid Mohammed said the MoU had come at an opportune time as the company is embarking on its strategy to boost value addition in seaweed farming.

“We believe this MoU will be a game-changer. We will do everything possible to implement all the terms stipulated on time,” Mr Mohamed said.

Mr Mohamed said his company has already commenced construction of an 8.0bn/- seaweed processing plant in Zanzibar that will ensure that all the seaweed is processed before export so as to enable farmers to fetch better prices at the world market.

“This will be the biggest seaweed processing plant not only in Tanzania but also in Africa,” he said.

The Zanzibar Trade and Industrial Development Minister, Mr Omar Said Shabani, during the event expressed optimism that seaweed is poised to overtake cloves as Zanzibar’s biggest foreign exchange earner within a few years to come.

“The price of seaweed is higher than that of cloves at the world market. With ample investment, espcially in value addition for seaweed, Zanzibar will be in position to get more foreign exchange,” he said.

Latest statistics showed that Zanzibar is producing 23,000 tonnes of seaweed per annum with 90 per cent of the out growers being women.

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