Project background

On Madagascar, the export of algae and sea cucumber is part of an international industry. The  sea cucumbers that grow naturally in the sea are a threatened species because sea cucumbers have a high nutritional value and a high market value in  Hong Kong and Singapore. Algae are in great demand as a thickener for foodstuffs.

About the project

In this project, which is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Royal Norwegian Society for Development hopes to reduce the pressure on natural resources and at the same time provide a lasting source of income for the local population. The British environmental organisation Blue Ventures has responsibility for the implementation of the project and there is a close collaboration with the marine research institute which for years has been researching the artificial insemination of sea cucumbers, the ministry of fisheries and the local export company.

From the point of the artificial production of sea cucumbers to the time that they have grown enough for sale takes about 15 months. The sea cucumbers are laid out by the producers in areas that are environmentally protected by Madagascan law. The algae are cultivated on ropes in open sea and harvested after five weeks. Both products are sold to a regional buyer for export to the international market.

Our contribution

  • Project leadership and project follow-up from A to Z
  • Securing the interests of the algae and sea-cucumber producers (fishermen)
  • Building up village-based producer organisations
  • Ensuring equality and female participation
  • Ensuring environmentally-friendly and climate-appropriate development
  • Developing the commercial chain in a manner that ensures profitability for all parties


  • Created 30 USD additional monthly income for the sea-cucumber producers and 15 USD for the algae producers, with a view to further increases
  • 220 new jobs
  • Two local seafood companies guaranteeing purchase for export
  • Necessary technology in place and further support from local companies
  • 50/50 percent women/men trained up in cultivation and business
  • Model for sustainable business development established and consolidated