Cambridge-Africa

The crop that put women on top in Zanzibar

9 July 2018

Seaweed has been hailed as a new superfood, and it's also found in toothpaste, medicine and shampoo. In Zanzibar, it's become big business - and as it has been farmed principally by women, it has altered the sexual balance of power.

Just after dawn, a group of women carrying ropes and sticks on their heads walk to the beach to plant seaweed at low tide.

Knee deep in the water, they drive the sticks into the sand. Small pieces of seaweed are then attached to rope strung out between the posts. In just over six weeks, these seedlings will grow tenfold and be ready to harvest. Some will be eaten but most will be dried, sold to a local broker and exported.

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