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Dr Flower Msuya (left) will address a UN meeting today on the importance of seaweed farming
Dr Flower Msuya (left) will address a UN meeting today on the importance of seaweed farming

A global seaweed expert will tell a UN meeting today how the seaweed industry is helping people in developing nations escape poverty.

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Dr Flower Msuya, from Tanzania, is representing the GlobalSeaweedSTAR programme, which addresses the challenges in the sector and is led by the Oban based Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

SAMS was a contributor to the Seaweed Manifesto, which Msuya will present at an event during the 75th UN General Assembly.

The manifesto is seen as a step in safeguarding and developing the industry, which is the fastest growing of all aquaculture sectors globally, worth more than $5 billion annually.

Emerging

Dr Msuya said: ‘Seaweeds have been proven to be a livelihood enhancer in emerging countries in Asia, Africa, South America and so on.

‘It employs a large number of farmers, who benefit directly from the industry, together with their families and communities around them, including service providers.

‘For example, the industry employs 30,000 farmers in Tanzania and is the third largest in the Zanzibar islands, where it contributes around 7.6% of the islands’ GDP.

‘For a brighter future for the industry, we need to link farmers to researchers, governments, the UN, NGOs and businesses to give them courage to continue.’

Crucial

SAMS professor Elizabeth Cottier-Cook, leader of the GlobalSeaweedSTAR programme, said: ‘The seaweed industry is crucial to so many coastal communities in the developing world.

‘It provides income to millions of families, often allowing women to become economically active in areas where few other opportunities exist.

‘I’m delighted that a special side event dedicated to seaweed will be held during the 75th anniversary UN General Assembly, giving it a global platform from which to highlight key challenges and discuss how to grow the industry sustainably.’

Register for the meeting, which starts at 3pm UK time, here.

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