|| PROJECT ALAOTRA - MODULE
Environmental problems and
poverty need to be fought simultaneously in order to achieve sustainable
development. Therefore, Madagascar Wildlife Conservation also
aims to use this approach in its water hyacinth project.
The Water Hyazinth
The freely floating water hyacinth (Eichornia sp.) originally
comes from Amazonia but was spread throughout the world since
it was used as an ornamental plant for water ponds. Today, this
plant is considered as one of the most invasive species and is
at the origin of important ecological, social and economical problems.
Parts of the lake Alaotra in Madagascar are also covered with
this plant, which harms the local flora, fauna and the human population.
Therefore, MWC decided to initiate a water hyacinth project.
Using the Water Hyazinth
We aim to help the local population in finding valuable ways to
use the water hyacinth. To explore different possibilities, we
conducted a feasibility study in 2008. The results showed that
the Malagasy people are interested in using the plant as a primary
product for handicraft and for fuel.
In the village of Andreba, we are starting the production of briquettes
from compressed water hyacinth that burn just as well as wood
charcoal but are cheaper. The production of handicrafts (e.g.
baskets, place mats) from the stem of the plants is being professionalized
and new applications are being explored. As a consequence, the
pressure on nature is relieved since parts of the lake are freed
from the invasive plant. Furthermore, the transfer from papyrus
to water hyacinth as basic material for the production of basketry
contributes to the preservation of the natural swamps. By selling
the handicrafts, a new source of income is generated for the local
Finally, using water hyacinth for the production of briquettes
will help protect the surrounding forests since their woods will
no longer needed to generate charcoal.