As the second biggest seaweed producer in the world, Indonesia is contributing to 38% of the growing global seaweed market. The cultivation of seaweed becomes very important for Indonesians, especially for hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers and coastal communities across Indonesia whose livelihood relies heavily on the amount of seaweed their farms can produce.
Responding to the growing demand for seaweeds, AtSeaNova developed AlgaeVeg, a new 2D system for the cultivation of red seaweeds. The system enables a production yield 8 times higher than the traditional 1D long line system currently used by most farmers. With the use of the AlgaeVeg system, seaweed farmers can achieve higher production on the same sea surface. This means increased revenue for the farmers and sustained livelihoods. Beyond that, it gives incentive to the younger generation to stay in their village and keep farming, avoiding mass urbanisation.
In order to expand this impact across Indonesia, AtSeaNova has been working closely with local communities through partnerships with local organisations such as Rikolto and WWF Indonesia who have been working with coastal communities for decades. Through these collaborations, which were made at the SIP Summit, the AlgaeVeg system has been able to provide the local community with technical support and also speed up the process of implementation and adaptation of AlgaeVegs technology. Since joining the SIP accelerator program, AtSeaNova has been implementing more projects in several coastal areas in the archipelago: Bali, Sulawesi, Wakatobi, Kai, and Alor, to name a few.
Together with Rikolto, installing AlgaeVeg technology with a coastal community in Bali
As the use of AlgaeVeg grows in the country and the size of their farms and buyers increases, the team have been conscious of ensuring the economic and social benefits of the technology remain in coastal communities. Together with their local partners, they are proposing to develop a controlled implementation of large farms in cooperation with local communities. Doing so will enable the system to be used for different end-uses, such as bio-energy, through a sustainable loop of an end-to-end supply chain: production of seaweed that has economical, environmental and social impact on local communities and continuous market demand for the produced seaweed.
AtSeaNova is currently working to develop a new concept of responsible seaweed line which will highlight the work of the local community, yield a higher market price and promote seaweed cultivation as a positive social vector.