By Rabecca Hijam
IMPHAL, January 3: In recent years efficient handiwork with water hyacinth has emerged as a new avenue for earning as many items such as bags, caps, dining table mats, baskets etc are prepared from these water bodies.
Akhom Rasho Singh, who had been bestowed the title of mentor by NEDFI, had started the making of many households items out of water hyacinth since 2011. He begun this new venture after he got a capacity building program on water hyacinth craft organized by Ereima Women Welfare Association under the sponsorship of North Eastern Development Finance Corporation in the year 2011.
After the successful completion of the said training, he has produced many attractive items and his products were exhibited in the various national level exhibitions.
Recognizing his craftsmanship, he was selected as a mentor under the Cooperate Social Responsibility initiative of North-East Development Finance Cooperation Limited.
He has already given 10 days developments training programs at five different locations of Manipur on creation of day-to-day used articles from water hyacinth.
He also marketed the products at Dimapur and different parts of Manipur and also internationally to USA.
NEDFI has instructed him to make the trainees cent percent artisan. But, the same target could not be fulfilled, however above 50 percent trainees became full-fledged artisans.
Prior to engaging in this new venture, Rasho had worked on water reed productions and he was awarded the Dr Amberkar National Award. He was also conferred an award in the year 2006-7 by the Directorate of Commerce and Industry, government of Manipur.
The Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre of the ministry of Culture, Govt of India has recognized him as guru in the field of water reed production under guru Shiksha Parampara.
After NEDFI had given him the title of mentor, he got fully involved in the craft of water hyacinth items. The NEDFI had sent him to Guwahati and Ahmadabad (National Institute of Design) for undergoing short term training program.
He further continued that the water reed craft production was already used from time immemorial in Manipur but in South-East Asia it had already developed and varied products were created. So Manipur people can also make many items from water reed and water hyacinth as it will help environment protection and compete with other countries.
Ahenba Products Wangkhei helped him in marketing his products. His products include items such as bag, cap, dining table mat and many other items which could be used in day to day life and also decorative items.
He further added that NEDFI communicated him with an intent to buy all the products produced by artisans. Altogether 125 artisans were successfully given training under NEDFI CSR Initiative. An artisan could earn Rs 4000 plus per month.
He has given a message to the general public that the water hyacinth craft will be successful in the state of Manipur because the raw materials are also abundantly available in the state and the people of Manipur have a lot of knowledge and skill in this particular trade.
So he requested the people to supply him with water hyacinth plants instead of throwing them as waste so that he can turn them into productive and profitable items.