​Ministry of Agriculture presents: this is the way seaweed will be turned into a raw cuisine material in Israel and beyond!

There are over 480 European companies and farmers throughout Europe already working in this field • These companies generate an estimated 750 million Euros turnover • The total market value is estimated to be 900 million Euros •  

There are about 20 Israeli companies working in this field, employing over 200 employees in local cultivation areas spanning 230 Dunams. The sector is estimated to generate an income of approximately 220,000,000 NIS

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel: “The seaweed and algae cultivation sector is undergoing rapid development in Israel and worldwide, as are also the investments in this industry, which are increasing year after year. This sector serves as a vital link in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food additive chains. It is regarded as agriculture’s next growth engine”

Seaweed has long ago become an integral part of the menu in certain regions around the world. In Israel, we have been introduced to it in its rolled form, wrapped around rice and various other ingredients in the Asian dishes so popular in Israel - sushi. However from the time sushi assumed its place in Israeli cuisine and until today, much seaweed has flowed in the seas and through man-made cultivation ponds. In a conference organized this morning by the Fisheries Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry, with the help of the experts and renowned companies in the field, reviewed the main aspects of the seaweed and algae sector: scaling up work in the sector, new developments in biotechnology, introduction of advanced technologies and solutions, presentation of popular varieties and experiencing the products. They also looked forward - what else can we expect from this sector? The common objective was: to regularize the sector and its farmers into a unified association, thereby substantially scaling up the sector. 

Ministry of Agriculture data indicates that there are about 20 companies in various regions in the country, all cultivating seaweed and algae. They employ over 200 employees operating in local cultivation plots covering some 230 Dunams. According to estimates, this sector is expected to grow and reach over 900 Dunams within just a few years. Analysis of the sector in recent years estimate that sector revenues are approximately 220,000,000 NIS. 

Participating in the conference was the CEO of the European Algae Biomass Association (EABA), who presented the sector’s worldwide growth with special focus on Europe. The picture which emerges is that there are over 480 European companies and farmers throughout Europe already working in this field. These companies generate an estimated 750 million Euros’ worth of turnover. The total market value is estimated to be 900 million Euros. Currently there are over 300 research groups and 90 companies in countries outside the European Union (data provided by Dr. Vitor Vardelho).  



Besides this, local companies specializing in this field also presented. These included Seakura Farm, which produces approximately 100 tons of (wet) seaweed featuring large, broad leaves serving the local culinary industry. According to the data it provided, the seaweed doubles its mass every four days. The company produces its seaweed in giant land-based pool tanks , thereby keeping their cultivation in a clean, controlled environment. The company’s products are sold in 250 retail outlets around the country. Baralgae is a company which produces three different kinds of microalgae simultaneously. The company produces an annual output of approximately 70 tons algae in long water-filled tubes. The tubes are managed remotely via an application with no need for on-site supervision. Water temperature and the rest of the conditions vital to algal growth can be calculated via the application. Abundance owns some 30 Dunams of spirulina - one of the largest such facilities in the Mediterranean basin. The company exports its products to Europe, mainly its frozen fresh spirulina, which is quite unique compared with what is on offer in Europe and the USA. Numerous other promising companies also exhibited, having made their breakthrough in Israel and worldwide, or being on the brink of making the leap.  



Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel: “The seaweed and algae cultivation sector is undergoing rapid development in Israel and worldwide, as are also the investments in this industry, which are increasing year after year. This sector serves as a vital link in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food additive chains. It is regarded as agriculture’s next growth engine”. He added: “I congratulate the conference, which will be held here at the Ministry of Agriculture for the second time. This is an opportunity for growers, researchers and company owners to meet and mingle, to introduce new varieties and technologies, which will further advance and develop the sector”.

Noam Moses, Manager of the Aquaculture Section in the Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture: “The local seaweed and algae sector is relatively new and has been gaining momentum over the years. Today, after just a brief period, the seaweed we are all familiar with is no longer confined to our sushi plates. It has become an entire industry, enriching the Israeli cosmetic and culinary industries. I hope this conference will unify growers and that they in turn will attract many more entrepreneurs who will make Israel proud and play a dominant role in this worldwide industry as we do in other sectors”.