Kibuyuni Seaweed Farmers Group in Kwale County has received a major boost after a company bought 100 tonnes of their crop at Sh2 million.
Speaking during the commissioning of the consignment on Wednesday, C-Weed Corporation Kenya representative Ezra Mereng said they were working with farmers to market the produce and improve livelihoods.
Mr Mereng said seaweed farming was an emerging source of income for smallholder farmers.
"Today marks a milestone for us as we commission the first shipping of 100 tonnes of seaweed to get it to international markets and help improve farmers’ lives," he said.
Fatuma Mohammed, chair of the group, said the cash crop had potential to turn around farmers’ fortunes but it lacked a market.
Ms Mohammed boasted of the huge steps the farmers have made despite many hurdles since they harvested the first batch of 100 tonnes.
She said the group made Sh1.3 million in 2014 when it sold 44 tonnes of dried seaweed. "We are happy because seaweed farming is transforming our lives. We have been able to use income derived from the venture to provide basic needs to our families."
She added that they have also been equipped with skills on how to process the seaweed into different products as part of value addition.
Ms Mohammed said they make soap and shampoo from dried seaweed, adding that there are plans to submit samples to the Kenya Bureau of Standards for approval as well as branding the product.