Following the kickoff of the Aquacelerator, EnerGaia, partnering with land, building, and factory owners to utilize excess space for the cultivation of spirulina, has been hard at work facilitating impact in the Indian Ocean region. Today’s blog provides a recap and photo diary of their journey they have undertaken, supporting economic empowerment for local women entrepreneurs and local farmers and fishermen overall to prevent overfishing and bring sustainable algae products into the fold in innovative ways.


Madurai Visit by Saumil Shah, Bonnie Hobbs and Maddie Hobbs of EnerGaia

Antenna Trust, and EnerGaia are providing a way for local women entrepreneurs to earn a steady income by growing spirulina. Saumil, Maddie and Bonnie went to Madurai to install a demo system. The Antenna team has successfully harvested their first kilos of spirulina and plan to expand the number of tanks to 1000 within this year.  This farm will employ up to 30 women.  70% of the spirulina harvest will be purchased by EnerGaia while the rest will be distributed amongst rural malnourished children or sold locally by Antenna.

Saumil presenting to 30 women entrepreneurs from rural villages around Madurai who are interested in growing spirulina.
Saumil presenting to 30 women entrepreneurs from rural villages around Madurai who are interested in growing spirulina.
Bonnie showing the Madurai Antenna team how the caps of the tanks fit.
Bonnie showing the Madurai Antenna team how the caps of the tanks fit.
Putting together the airlift pumps before inoculating the tanks with spirulina.
Putting together the airlift pumps before inoculating the tanks with spirulina.
Sourcing for parts and supplies at local shops is cost effective, and interesting!
Sourcing for parts and supplies at local shops is cost effective, and interesting!
Saumil with Mano of Antenna in front of the new center named after the founder of Antenna Trust, Denis von Der Weid.
Saumil with Mano of Antenna in front of the new center named after the founder of Antenna Trust, Denis von Der Weid.

The EnerGaia team is planning a follow-up visit to Madurai in early May to help Antenna to install another 200 spiraling tanks and teach them about our harvesting and processing techniques for fresh spirulina.

Spirulina Farm at Anantara Hotel, Si Kao, Trang Province, Thailand

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Facilitated by Donna Kwan (UNDP) and Khun Jear (NGO SAN), Energaia is teaming up with the Anantara Hotel to install 100 spiraling tanks. The system would be used to provide an alternative livelihood for local farmers and fishermen to prevent overfishing which is threatening the food supplies of the dugong.

Map of the fishing villages for potential spirulina farms.
Map of the fishing villages for potential spirulina farms.
Local microbiologist helps rural farmers with hydroponics and aquaculture.
Local microbiologist helps rural farmers with hydroponics and aquaculture.
Lunch of fresh seafood with BEC Council Member, Donna Kwan, BEC Fellow Thibault, and Mark from Anantara.
Lunch of fresh seafood with BEC Council Member, Donna Kwan, BEC Fellow Thibault, and Mark from Anantara.
Anatara Hotel site for the pilot installation of 100 tanks.
Anatara Hotel site for the pilot installation of 100 tanks.

The products harvested by the farmers could be used by Anantara to create healthy snacks and lunches for children in the local schools. Anantara could also promote spirulina to their hotel guests by adding it to drinks and dishes.

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