Discover our Production Processes
What is it? Water hyacinth is an aggressive invader that can form thick mats. Its extensive, knotted root systems tangles together – ‘the roots marry themselves!’ says Achenyo – and clog waterways, a key transportation network to inland populations. It also depletes nutritional resources, leading to a drop in fish population, impacting food supplies and livelihoods for local communities reliant on fishing. On the flip side, water hyacinth is a great sustainable fibre which is abundantly available and it grows readily without any need for sowing, weeding or fertilising.
Water hyacinth is generally considered to be between 90 and 95% water. Local communities have harvested it for decades and either burned the fibres or left them to rot. In other instances the water hyacinth has been left to clog the waterways. Thanks to MitiMeth, local riverine communities in Nigeria are now involved in the harvesting of water hyacinth and the creation of functional crafts. After harvesting, the stems are detached from the root system. And the leaves are detached and the stems rinsed.
HARVESTING & CLEANING
After the stems and leaves are separated, the next step is drying. The easiest and most eco-friendly way to dry the stems is out in the sun. It takes anywhere from 4 to 7 days for the stems to be completely dry during the Dry season. It takes longer during the Rainy season.
After drying, the stems are now ready for the 100+ home based artisans working with MitiMeth to start the rope weaving process.
To create a product, our Artisans use craft patterns. The production process goes from 3 to 10 days. Each product is born from the collaboration between the Designer and her Artisans and is a labor of love, a testament to skill and a piece of art.