Seaweed Farming – UPSC Prelims

What is Seaweed?
  • It is the name given to the many species of marine algae and plants.
  • These species grow in water bodies such as rivers, seas and oceans.
  • The practice of cultivating and harvesting seaweed is known as Seaweed Farming.
  • Out of the global seaweed production, China produces 57%, Indonesia 28%. Whereas, India is having a mere share of 0.01-0.02%.
  • It is estimated that if seaweed cultivation is done in 10 million hectares or 5% of the EEZ area of India, it can provide employment to 50 million people
Seaweed Species in India: The commercially exploited seaweed species in India mainly include Kappaphycus alvarezii, Gracilaria edulis, Gelidiella acerosa, Sargassum spp. and Turbinaria spp.
Uses of Seaweed Farming:
  • They are rich in vitamins and minerals and are consumed as food in various parts of the world
  • They are used for the production of phytochemicals namely agar, carrageenan, and alginate.
  • These phytochemicals are widely used as gelling, stabilizing, and thickening agents in several industries of food, confectionery, pharmaceutical, etc.
  • Furthermore, they are used for the production of polysaccharides, fertilizer.
  • They are also used in high-value products such as nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals for use against various lifestyle diseases.
Why in news? In Budget 2021, the Finance Minister has proposed to set up a multi-purpose seaweed park in Tamil Nadu. It will be a part of the Seaweed Farming promotion in India.
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