Seaweed farming in Africa: current status and future potential

Global demand for seaweed and its products has increased exponentially over the last 25 years. Equally, the continent of Africa and its offshore islands have considerable potential for seaweed production to contribute to world demand. Compared with China and the rest of Asia, Africa lags behind in seaweed production and utilisation. However, for red eucheumatoid seaweeds, Africa is the third-largest producer in the world, producing about 120,000 t (FW) annually. Details are provided for 13 African countries that are currently involved in seaweed farming and harvesting, commercially or experimentally, for export or domestic utilisation. Eucheuma spp. and Kappaphycus spp. in Tanzania represent 92% and in Madagascar 4.7% of continental production, and Ulva spp. and Gracilaria spp. in South Africa represent 1.5%. Over 2000 species of seaweed have been recorded in Africa, some of which are already successfully cultivated in other parts of the world. The environmental conditions across the continent range from warm, tropical waters to the cooler, nutrient-rich waters of the southwest, enabling the cultivation of seaweeds from the tropical, carrageenan-producing eucheumatoids to temperate kelp species. Seaweed aquaculture production in Africa, led predominantly by women, has improved the livelihoods of its coastal people. Challenges through disease and pest outbreaks, as a result of climate change, and the low prices paid to farmers are highlighted as major constraints on the development of this industry. Through scaling up and expanding current efforts in production and utilisation of seaweeds, Africa has the potential to join China and Southeast Asia as a global leader in producing, processing and consuming a wide variety of seaweeds.


Msuya FE, Bolton J, Pascal F, Narrain K, Nyonie B, Cottier-Cook EJ

Journal of Applied Phycology (2022)
02, 1, 2022
DOI: 10.1007/s10811-021-02676-w