First Person: The Barbadian Entrepreneur turning Sargassum into Money

Sargassum seaweed

Sargassum seaweed has blighted many of the beaches on Barbados for several years. Joshua Forte, a local entrepreneur, is convinced that it can be turned into a valuable commodity, and turned into highly effective, organic compost.

In 2014, Mr. Forte started Red Diamond Compost, a biotech business that focuses on research, development, and the commercialization of organic and biologic soil treatment and crop protection solutions made primarily from organic environmental hazards, such as sargassum seaweed.

Joshua Forte - Founder of Red Diamond Compost Inc.

Mr. Forte is recognized as a national and regional expert in the field of climate-smart environmental management.

“I started getting interested in organic compost in 2009, at a time when I became seriously ill, and was in bed for 10 hours a day. I came across someone online, who was talking about how nutrients and the right foods can improve your health.

I tried changing my diet and, in a one-week period, I got a huge burst of energy, that I had never felt before.

I started to dig in deeper, and researched food and nutrition, and how it affects the body. I saw a contrast between the way that much of our food is produced in Barbados, with the focus on synthetic fertilizers and toxic chemicals. I also saw that there was a rise in the number of young people with type two diabetes or obesity.

In Barbados, toxic chemicals used in agriculture are killing the beneficial organisms, the life in the soil. A scientist at the university here even put out a report, which said that the microbial life here is completely decimated.

‘The problem was much bigger than me’

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Don't miss out on the podcast: Barbados and the Blue Economy - Sargassum Solutions

-UN News producer Conor Lennon went to Barbados for UN News, to find out what effect sargassum is having on the island’s environment, and why some entrepreneurs on the island, and UN scientists, believe that it could eventually have a positive effect on the economy.