Farming seaweed on Paje Beach, Zanzibar, February 2018
Seaweed farming is a key source of income for many rural women on the island of Zanzibar, and the export of their hard earned produce is an important national industry, with the resulting food, cosmetics and medicines reaching a range of countries, including China, Korea, Vietnam, Denmark, Spain, France and USA.
At low tide, the beach is spattered with sticks, seaweed and brightly attired local women. The colours of the traditional kanjis suggest a more cheerful and easygoing job than this is in reality. Nimble fingers tie bundle after bundle of seaweed seedlings to strands of string, then attach that string to a stick and forcibly plunge it deep into the sand. My own attempts revealed that I don’t have the required levels of either patience or strength. As the tide rises, the women head to land to process their gathered produce…
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