THE Zanzibar Seaweed Company (ZASCO) and the UK based company ‘Nutri-san’ Limited have signed a framework agreement for a joint operation and management of a carrageenan factory at Chamanangwe industrial park, Pemba Island.
Before witnessing the signing of documents in Unguja, the Zanzibar Minister of Trade and Industries Development Mr Omar Said Shaaban said it is a remarkable development in seaweed farming.
He told the gathering which included contractors of the processing factory and other stakeholders in seaweed farming that the agreement to form a joint venture (JV) places Zanzibar in a better place in Africa and the World in production of carrageenan and other products from the seaweed.
“This is definitely a huge boost in seaweed after 40 years since the farming was introduced in the Islands and also an enhancement in our blue economy agenda,” Mr Shaaban said.
He explained that the blue economy, which is the sustainable use of marine resources, is key to Zanzibar’s economic growth.
Minister Shaaban said that the Zanzibar government under President Hussein Mwinyi has been taking different measures to make blue economy a reality.
The minister thanked the ‘Nutri-San Company’ for accepting a joint venture with ZASCO, as he challenged the more than twenty thousand farmers (majority women) that it is an opportunity for them to increase production.
“The current production is only 12,000 tonnes, while the capacity of the new factory is 30,000 tonnes per year,” he said.
He said that the government through its Zanzibar Economic Empowerment Agency (ZEEA) will continue supporting farmers, so that they produce more seaweed to meet the demand.
The minister also revealed that plans are underway to construct another processing factory to process ‘Ulva- sea lettuce algae’ at Dunga Industrial Park in Unguja Central District,’ soon “Our sea beaches will be clean because the demand for the Ulva will definitely grow.
Mr San Chau, founder and CEO of Nutri-San limited thanked the Zanzibar government for the joint venture as Dr Robert Barker from the company presented to the audience how carrageenan will be produced from seaweed, highlighting that carrageenan is on high demand and that the factory will boost Zanzibar’s economy.
Mr Barker joined the ZASCO director general Dr Masoud to explain that after the signing of the agreement, logistics follows and the joint venture would start after six months while Mr Akif Ali Khamis- chairperson of ZASCO Board of directors said the government has enabled a conducive environment for investments.
Mr Juma Burhan- Director, ZEEA promised to support the potential entrepreneurs engaged in seaweed farming, while the ZASCO Director General Dr Masoud Rashid Mohammed said his office is encouraging farmers to grow more seaweed so that the production of carrageenan is possible.
Dr Mohammed explained that Zanzibar government has already injected more than 4.5bn/- into the seaweed processing factory project, and “Under the joint venture, Nutri-san company will put more than 2.6bn/- to the project, mainly for technical (installment of modern machines) to produce carrageenan.”