During the final event of Making Africa Work on December 6. 2017 in Amsterdam, Blue Harvest Ghana won the pitching competition! This brings Goodget and our local partner Venital one step closer to our goal: we want to add value to seaweed by harvesting, processing, and selling it with the help of the local fishing communities. This not only results in more income for local communities, but also in cleaner beaches, improved fishing conditions and cleaner water.
In Ghana, increasing influx of seaweed is currently seen as a plague. Nets of fishermen are filled with seaweed in stead of fish, sometimes 75% of the catch is seaweed. Income is lost, the smell is bad when it is left on the beach to rot, and this in turn is bad for tourism.
Blue Harvest Ghana wants to change this: we want to add value to seaweed. We want to train people from the impoverished local communities to collect seaweed from the beaches and the sea. We buy it from them at a reasonable price, we process it, and sell it as a commodity on the (inter-) national market. Seaweed is used to produce alginates and proteins, and the demand is high.
So what are the benefits of Blue Harvest Ghana? The collecting and processing of seaweed creates jobs, and cleans the beaches. We don’t need hi-tech machinery, and we do not use chemicals to process the seaweed. In the future we will look into seaweed based organic product development with the local communities. Also, a sustainability plan will be set up as an important part of Blue Harvest Ghana because we want to make sure the wild harvesting of seaweed does not in any way disrupt ocean life.
Our next step will be to test the quality of the seaweed harvested in Ghana ourselves (to double-check reports published in Ghana on the quality of seaweed), and prepare our funding applications to start up the business as soon as possible.