Dried water lily stalks woven into fine handicrafts became the livelihood of women, housewives, out-of-school youths, and senior citizens of Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippines.
A wide range of products like shoes, sandals, slippers, bags, baskets, wallets, pouches, belts, trays, placemats, boxes, tissue holders and many others can be crafted by Paniqui folks using stalks of dried water hyacinths.
The ample visibility and fast growth of this plant caused a problem of obstructing the flow of water as the region is traversed with many rivers, swamps, and creeks, causing flooding during heavy rains. The local government started this project with 25 weavers which increased to 50 within 12 months as demand from local and foreign tourists poured out.
The BusinessOver a wide variety of handicrafts can be made from dried water hyacinths. It’s light yet strong fiber property can be woven to different products according to the clients’ preferences. Because it is organic, it can be used for packaging of goods which will substitute plastics that are non-biodegradable.
The abundant yield of high quality dried water lily straws with the hard-working weaving skills mean that the plant harvesters and weavers of Paniqui have very good potential to enter the market of producing high quality hand-made water lily handicrafts in different designs and products.
Furthermore, the same raw materials and weaving techniques can be applied to develop a range of good quality and attractive water lily fashion ware like slippers and handbags. The production of the water lily baskets and boxes would be undertaken by the Paniqui Women Association and the PAGASA Youth Association both recognized and supported by the local government. High quality fabric materials for fastenings, linings, gloss, water-proofing, and highlights were sourced from the locality.
Production of water lily mats, trays and other handicrafts would enhance the quality and value of products produced by the local groups and should give in a major income increase for their own households.
The target market for water lily handicrafts would be predominately the local market of wealthier Filipinos, overseas Filipino workers, expats and foreigners. The local government unit of Paniqui plans to engage on supplying water lily handicrafts for wholesale to a number of domestic distributors and retail networks. The aim of water lily boxes, baskets, and handbags will primarily be environment conscious consumers who do not use plastic bags or plastic containers. These consumers and other unaware consumers will be targeted through direct marketing and direct and indirect advertising campaigns backed up by the local government unit of Paniqui, the Provincial Government of Tarlac, and the Department of Trade and Industry.
There are three main market targets for the water lily handicrafts. The target for the water lily fashion items (mostly handbags, slippers, wallet, etc.) will be established domestic handicraft wholesalers and retailers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, as well as exporters for the United States, Japan, and European markets. It is anticipated that domestic sales to cater to the large tourism market all over the Philippine islands will make up the majority of water lily fashion item sales.
The target market for water lily handicrafts (mostly lampshade, decorative household products, placemats, etc.) will initially be the Filipino community living abroad. This embodies a significant market, as there are many Filipinos working around the world-over 860,000 not mentioning Filipino immigrants, so the overall potential market size is large. The main potential competitors would be other communities all over the country who also started this water lily weaving project, as this is promoted by the Department of Trade and Industry to local government units with trouble with the pesky water plant. Another is handicrafts made of other...