Project background

In the project area in northern Madagascar, poverty was widespread, resources were limited and there was a great need for alternative sources of income. The solution lay in innovative thinking and starting up an untraditional form of marine trade. The seaweed project was set up in collaboration with a local company (IBIS) and an international seaweed company (FMC BioPolymer). The fruits of the project can be seen in a growing seaweed industry and the establishment of an entirely new local community in the project area.

About the project

For this project, the Royal Norwegian Society for Development has collaborated with FMC Biopolymer, which has contributed in the form of technical advisory in the field of seaweed cultivation and drying/ packaging. They also guaranteed the purchase of all seaweed production. IBIS has been responsible for training the producers, supplying production equipment and carrying out the project in the field.

The Royal Norwegian Society for Development contributed to securing the interests of the small producers in the production and drying of seaweed, to the producers’ organisational development, to promoting equality and women’s participation, to quality assurance of environmental plans and gave advice on  relevant aspects of local business development.

Our contribution and role

  • Project leadership and follow-up
  • Securing the interests of seaweed producers
  • Building up a producer organisation
  • Developing the value chain ensuring profits for all parties


  • 406 stable, sustainable jobs were established, in which half of the workers were women
  • 270 producers earned on average 90 USD per month, which represents 3 x the minimum wage and around twice the FN’s minimum wage
  • The total production of dried seaweed was 2290 tonnes, 29 % higher than anticipated
  • The producer organisation FIMANOA was greatly strengthened, with 200 members and a democratic management structure
  • The project contributed to the strengthening of a local export company and there were many positive ripple effects for the local community in many respects
  • A plant was built for collecting rainwater, along with a locally-run health centre
  • Latrines and a water tower were built in the locality. This is important to prevent pollution of the vulnerable and shallow ground water
  • A school that was also built which has documented results better than the national average