Medical Care Development, Inc.

Enhancing Coastal Community Value Chains with Marine Permaculture (CVC-MPs) Highly Ranked

Food security

Coastal Community Value Chains with Marine Permaculture connects coastal and agricultural communities, providing the foundations of increased economic prosperity, biodiversity, climate resilience and human health.

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Poverty and food insecurity in Coastal East and West Africa contribute to environmental degradation. Medical Care Development International and the Climate Foundation propose Coastal Community Value Chains with Marine Permaculture (CVC-MPs) to increase food security, restore soils, improve health outcomes, and provide economic empowerment. Locals will lead offshore seaweed production with Marine Permaculture, and produce seaweed extract linked to local and international offtake markets to create new income streams. Seaweed extracts and compost will help restore degraded cropland, thereby increasing crop production and farmers’ incomes, while reducing the need to clear more forests. This missing link for resource efficiency will provide agency and ensure increased health and economic well-being for the population. Marine Permaculture will provide climate resilience to seaweed farms, fisheries and marine ecosystems. Revitalization of collapsed fisheries will enhance the long term socioeconomic reality for millions of local people struggling to survive, while simultaneously protecting biodiversity.

Problem Statement

Impoverished nations are among those most vulnerable to food and economic insecurity as oceans warm and once-fertile soils lose productivity. Fisheries are collapsing, and people who have traditionally relied on marine resources for their food and livelihoods are seeking alternative revenue streams. Roughly forty percent of CO2 emissions since the beginning of the industrial era are absorbed by the oceans, causing oceans to acidify, and endangering the delicate carbon balance and marine biodiversity. Over-extraction of nonrenewable marine resources and pollution further threaten ecosystems. Climate stressors on land negatively impact soil fertility, microbial content, and moisture retention of soils, meaning agricultural practices require frequent and expensive artificial fertilizers. Degraded land is nutrient-poor and prone to runoff during rain events, further threatening agricultural viability to produce quality fruit and vegetables. Meanwhile, there is a global shortage of seaweed. We can fill these market gaps while providing economic opportunities for small-scale networks in developing countries.In Madagascar, Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea, food security and environmental problems are affecting millions of people. By 2050, the population in Madagascar, and most other African countries is expected to double. Burgeoning populations put additional pressures on land and sea resources causing unsustainable extraction of virgin materials in a vicious cycle of poverty. Much of the wealth inherent in local resources is lost in this cycle, and dependence on external inputs deepens. In combination, these issues represent a runaway cycle of over-extraction of resources leading to collapse, creating further food insecurities and decreased productivity for marginalised people.

Solution Overview

CVC-MPs support scalable offshore seaweed farming that will provide climate resilience and food security to developing nations. Seaweed crops are protected from warming temperatures by upwelling cool, nutrient-rich deep water to the surface. Additionally, farmable ocean area increases substantially when deep water regions are made accessible. Seaweed grows quickly, absorbs CO2 and reduces ocean acidification, providing forage and breeding habitat for marine life. Global demand exists for a diverse range of seaweed products including gelling agents, fuels and food items, though its value and benefits as a fertiliser are most well-suited to the model of a linked value chain economy.CVC-MPs are community-led projects aiming to produce a locally regenerated economy through which ecosystems will prosper. Increased seaweed crop yields year-round ensure reliable income benefits to farmers. This seaweed will then be processed into grades of seaweed extracts sold internationally and to local communities. Seaweed extracts and compost enhance soil fertility, thereby improving crop yields, nutrient uptake, and immunity against diseases. This benefits marginalised populations by increasing local food nutrient profiles and food availability. Markers of progress for the CVC-MPs include increased seaweed yields, improved agricultural outcomes and economic development. Research Assistants and collaborating universities will monitor, analyze and report on the project’s progress and learning outcomes. Priority populations will benefit from interventions addressing entrepreneurship, financial stability, and family health. CVC-MPs close the loop on extractive resource cycles and return economic benefits to marginalised people by drawing carbon from the oceans and replenishing it in soils.

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Project Funders

  • Grantham Foundation 2017 - Ongoing
  • Schmidt Foundation 2019 - Ongoing
  • Intrepid Foundation 2019 - Ongoing

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