Friday, June 26, 2009

a place called Wingwi

The view from the plane was compelling. Orderly lines of seaweed cultivars sprawl across hectares on the reef of Wingwi, right where the channel forks like a trident in the isthmus northeast of Pemba.

forked channel of Wingwi (aerial)
aerial view of the forked channel of Wingwi, Pemba, Zanzibar, Tanzania

aerial of the Wingwi channel
dense seaweed farms fill the tidal flat of Wingwi

Just like Maziwa Ngombe, the road to Wingwi is exceedingly rough. How the seaweed gets trucked out of the village is clearly challenging but infrastructure in the outskirts of Pemba is poor.

woman farmer of Wingwi
a woman farmer watching us curiously as we passed by

arched treeline
arches of trees overrun by vine create a surreal background amidst the ricefield

Most of the seaweed farmers actually live in the village that are some distance away from the channel. It is normal fare for them to walk a few kilometers to get to their farm sites during the day but they still curiously choose to live away from the water banks.

boy carrying dried seaweed
a boy carrying the seaweed that he was able to dry for the day

shelter for seaweed and man
a shelter for respite near the drying area of Wingwi

seaweed drying platform
seaweed drying tables are fashioned from cultivated pine

Seaweed mariculture is a fairly recent enterprise. It was introduced in Pemba in large scale in the early 90s but it is only in the last 2 or 3 years that the industry saw a significant spurt in production. Conveniences like styropor-bottom boats, plastic floaters and bamboo rafts otherwise common in seaweed-growing countries like the Philippines and Indonesia are sorely missing in Pemba. Farmers generally don’t have capital nor do they have access to farm materials. In fact, to transport seaweed from farms to the drying areas, farmers still use traditional canoes called mtombwe that are dugout from century old mango trees.

3 Wingwi boats
these canoes cost about $500 each

mtombwe boats
a dock for mtombwe boats in Wingwi

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1 comment:

Photo Cache said...

may i just say you have a spectacular travel blog. i have been lurking for a while :)