Women Enterprising in Seaweed Farming With Special References Fisherwomen Widows in Kanyakumari District Tamilnadu India

Radhika Rajasree SR and S Gayathri

Seaweeds are not weeds as the name implies. But they are the renewable marine resources of value, growing well in shallow waters where suitable substratum for its growth exists. They are exploited from the south east coast of Tamil Nadu from Mandapam to Kanyakumari, Gujarat Coast, Lakshadweep islands and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and few other places like Chilka and Pulicat. Seaweed collection renders extensive employment to the coastal fisher folk. The estimation of seaweed resources indicate that only a negligible quantity is harvested. At present nearly 5000 women depend on the seaweed industries for their livelihood. If the available resources are harvested to its optimal level, it can provide employment to another 20,000 coastal fisher folk in harvesting sector and an equal number in post-harvest activities. Since the domain of seaweed collecting industry is mainly dominated by women, special efforts should be taken for its optimum exploitation and market expansion through diversified product development and their popularization. Seaweed mariculture offers an economically sustainable livelihood option for fisherwomen, who, with little effort can contribute significantly to the household income. Today seaweed cultivation techniques have been standardized, improved and made economically viable. Corporate backed by institutional and financial support led to the expansion of seaweed farming, through Self Help Groups (SHG) model (mostly women). This paper deals with the employment potential of fisher women in seaweed industries and to evaluate the economic performance of seaweed farming, including the empowerment of fisherwomen widows in Muttom, Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu, India.