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Successful seaweed harvests empower women in coastal villages in Tamil Nadu

Women with seaweed in nets in the waters
Women in the village of Thiruppalaikudi in Rameswaram district tend to their crops.

Key Points

  • With seaweed a booming business worldwide, AMMACHI Labs is training women in the Rameswaram district in cultivation and processing. 
  • The practice empowers coastal women with skills for sustainable farming, offering a reliable income source that also has a positive environmental impact.  
  • The program aims to train 120 women over two years. So far, it has reached 24 women in the village of Thiruppalaikudi and 40 in Olaikkuda. 

The new frontier in farming? Mother Sea. Seaweed cultivation is a booming business worldwide, so a promising avenue for empowering rural women who live in coastal areas. The practice offers them vital skills and knowledge for sustainable farming and processing, thus creating a viable source of income. It is an industry not only recognised for its economic benefits, but also for its positive environmental impact.  

AMMACHI Labs is training women in seaside villages in the Rameswaram District in Tamil Nadu. The project aims to reach 120 women in seaweed cultivation over two years by using Amrita’s integrated vocational training approach. Among these women and their families, it is also facilitating the establishment of collective businesses in the field.  

In the last two months, 24 women in the village of Thiruppalaikudi were trained, and they successfully harvested 1290 kgs from their first round of cultivation. In a field visit, the AMMACHI Labs team encountered an extreme low tide level, emphasising the dynamic nature of seaweed cultivation environments. 

Engaging actively in seaweed growth monitoring, the trainees regularly checked crops to optimise yield. Furthermore, they devoted time to constructing a plot for a research-based experiment, indicating a commitment to advancing knowledge in the field. The procurement of Gracialria and Ulva species from nearby Nambuthalai village also underscored their dedication to hands-on research and potential comparative studies. 

On a field visit, the AMMACHI Labs team seized the opportunity to gather materials for a drying platform, including a wooden frame, mesh nets, and PVC sheets. The added equipment helped streamline the drying process of harvests, essential for preservation and subsequent use or sale. 

On May 2nd, AMMACHI Labs conducted a final assessment in the field for the trainees. As some of the participants do not read or write, it was conducted both orally and practically to ensure equality and accessibilty for all. A total of 20 students underwent the assessment and their pride in their newfound skills and knowledge was plain to see. 

Overall, AMMACHI Labs’ visit and accompanying activities underscored their dedication to practical research and training in seaweed cultivation. By equipping trainees with essential infrastructure and fostering a research-driven approach, they demonstrated a commitment to advancing the industry and empowering practitioners for success. 

Last year in Rameswaram, 40 women in Olaikkuda village were also trained. The project is a partnership with joint funding between Amrita University and Transworld Group of Companies.  

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