|The Eucheuma Seaweed Story in the Western Indian Ocean Region: Past, Present and Future (COSTECH, 1994, 33 p.)|
COSTECH Scientific Public Lectures
When the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology was established in 1986, it was charged with the duties, among others, to advise the government on matters related to Science and Technology, Research and Development such as ...what areas in scientific research should be prioritized, how the allocation and utilisation of research funds should be accomplished, regional and international cooperation in scientific research and transfer of technology, the initiation, formulation and implementation of research policies and programmes, and the science and technology policy....
Its other designated functions included the popularisation of science and technology at all levels including at the general public level, and to facilitate the full and advantageous application of research results for the purpose of the better social and economic development of the United Republic of Tanzania. Among its other designated duties was one which gave COSTECH the mandate to acquire, store and disseminate scientific and technological information and COSTECH could, for that purpose, hold or sponsor conferences, symposia, meetings, seminars and workshop, ... or do any other act designed to promote interest in science and technology.
Not surprising therefore, this in turn led to the idea of holding scientific public fora in which the scientific community would interact with the private business community and the general public. This continues to be as much a bid to establish an Academic-Industry Link as to popularise science and technology. It is hoped that from the COSTECH Scientific Public Lectures progressive ideas can be obtained that will assist in accelerating our nations development in the educational, cultural, scientific, technological, economic and political spheres. And so it was on the 1st July, 1995, the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) held an inauguration lecture. In the First Scientific Public Lecture, Prof. Keto Elitabu Mshigeni, Professor of Botany at the Botany Department of the University of Dar-es-Salaam, currently on attachment at the University of Namibia in Windhoek gave a lecture entitled The Eucheuma Seaweed Story in the Western Indian Ocean: Past, Present and Future.
Among the prominent personalities who attended that auspicious ocassion were Dr. Mohammed Bilal, the Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Dr. Peter Haule of the Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organisation, Prof. Kapuya of the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Prof. Philip Bwathondi of Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute, Dr. Leah B. Wasker of Leamic Cosmetics and other members of the business and public communities.
Prof. Mshigeni left us in no doubt of the potential of Seaweed Farming in alleviating poverty in coastal communities. He enumerated how villagers in Pemba, Mafia and Zanzibar were now generating monetary incomes higher than those of mid-level personnel in civil service (1993).
Future prospects include using this neglected marine treasure to provide food for humans, fodder for livestock, in the production of fertilizers (Laminaria and Sargassum), in pharmacy, and in industry as is done in other countries such as Japan, China and the Philippines. It should be encouraging for Tanzanians to hear that the problem of Iodine Deficiency currently troubling the nation could be alleviated by using locally produced algae (Sargassum) as the source of iodine. The utilisation of (local) algae would be tantamount to saving the nation millions in foreign exchange.
It is our sincere hope that we can tap this important resource for the nations development.
Dr. Yadon Kohi