Tuesday 1 December 2020
 
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The wonder crop grown underwater in Northern Ireland

DUBAI, 9 days ago

In a report for CNN’s Call to Earth, the network reported from Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland – a place with a population of 150, which could have a hand in the future of food production.

The waters of the island are swimming in kelp – a wonder crop with as much protein as beef and are one of few non-animal sources of Vitamin B12.

CNN spoke with to Kate Burns, the founder of Islander Rathlin Kelp, which farms kelp and turns it into a range of food products such as noodles, pesto, tapenade and salsa verde.

"To produce a food with such food value. It's surprising how much chefs and people talk about seaweed -- 'the new food' -- but when you look for it in menus or in shops, it's still not there,” she said.

Burns, whose family is from Rathlin, realised the island's surrounding waters are ideal for kelp, which in turn allows Islander Kelp to farm year-round and grow about 50 tons annually, she said.

“Because of the Gulf stream, we have sea temperatures here between seven and 12 [degrees], 12 months of the year.”

 Harnessing seaweed's untapped potential could also aid both food security and the fight against the climate crisis, says the United Nations, while providing a habitat that nurtures biodiversity.

And whilst the global seaweed industry doubled in size between 2005 and 2015 and produced 33 million tons in 2018, Burns argues the crop offers an economic opportunity for fishing communities too.

“We’ve proved it could work under the most challenging circumstances and really with very little resources. We’ve created jobs and we’ve created an industry. It needs to take off. It’s such an important foodstuff... And such a useful resource for coastal communities,” Burns said. - TradeArabia News Service




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