COX'S BAZAR: Along the coast of Cox's Bazar, villagers have achieved success in farming algae experimentally.
The officials of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) said the initial success of farming algae has made them think over farming it commercially.
According to Dr. Akkas Ali, Chief Scientific Officer of BARI, algae is even used as a raw material in cosmetics and other industries. "If it is possible to make it more popular to farmers, it is possible to earn a lot of foreign exchange by exporting algae," he said.
Algae produced in the district has local demand, and is widely supplied to Rangamati, Bandarban, Ali Kadam, Lama, Thanchi, Sirajganj, Patuakhali, and Munshiganj.
With the help of bamboo, cane, rope and floating plastic buoys, and training provided by BARI, some families have already engaged themselves in algae farming in Cox's Bazar's Chaufaldandi, Nuniachara and Ukhia Rezur canals.
The algae produced here is being used in the production of a wide range of items, including food, medicines, cosmetics, fertilisers, bio-fuels, environmentally friendly products and various other things.
Algae farming has become very popular in a short period of time in the district.
Rasheda Begum, Saiful Islam, Kabir Ahmed, Nurul Abshar, Chafura Khatun and Nabi Hossain are some of the algae farmers of Nuniachhara. They told this correspondent that the algae farming has become a supplement source of their income, and if supported, they have an ample opportunity to export it abroad.
Algae has a great demand as a raw material for food and medicine industries, said Mohammad Sharfuddin Bhuiyan, Cox's Bazar office in-charge and senior officer of BARI. "Since 2016, research activities have been conducted on seaweed cultivation in the coastal areas of Cox's Bazar, especially in Ukhia, Teknaf and Osdar upazilas," he added.
However, algae cultivation is still new in Bangladesh, said Deputy Commissioner, Md. Mamunur Rashid. "If a large group of people from this vast coast are involved in this profession, it will create jobs for unemployed men and women on the one hand and add a new dimension to the country's economy on the other," he added.