Lotus Stem Fibre

Sanajing Sana Thambal by Bijayshanti Tongbram (Manipur)

Problem Addressed: Clothes made from lotus stem fibre are in high demand in foreign countries. There are only a few places in the world where this kind of work is done, including Myanmar and Cambodia. Bijayshanti, the innovator started spinning yarn from lotus stems and weaves a variety of garments and some decorative items, with the help of a handful of women from her locality. This has opened new avenues in the field of lotus farming and textile, besides empowering women.

Technology: The innovator breaks the lotus stem at the length of a thumb and pulls and expands the fiber from the lotus stem. Using their palms and the wooden plank, the fiber is then hand-rolled at its desired size. The fiber extracted from the lotus stems and stalk is produced as yarns for weaving cloths, neckties, and scarves on a loin loom.

Societal Impact: Lotus flowers are abundant in phumdi Loktak lake and it has the potential to generate more employment, especially for women. The skill to weave lotus fabric is highly localised. It is a relatively rare and highly soughtafter silk.

Current Status: Bijiyashanti Devi employs about 30 women to make the silk and sell at a small scale. The extraction of fibres being a labour intensive work increases the price of the garment. She is looking for engineers who can make machines to ease the tasks of extraction. GIAN has funded her under MVIF to seek wider markets.

crossposted to the c@g blog

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