Back to the "roots"

Back to the "roots": Promoting Water Hyacinth for pollution reduction, animal feeding and furniture

Country wide, RomaniaBucharest, Romania
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Animal feed, organic fertilizer for farms and gardens, biogas
production, fuel briquettes, and craft-making are among the list of possible uses for the water hyacinth.
And this is made better by the fact that the water hyacinth can reproduce from 10 to 60000 plants in half a year.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

one flower can satisfy the needs of many?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are a myriad of problems the project addresses so i will talk about each in a few words: Pollution - the water hyacinth was once a well know water cleaner; Poverty - it can be turned into furniture or other handmade objects that can be sold; Agriculture and healthy food: either as fertilizer, or food for pigs, this plant will always find a usage; Biogas: with a reproduction rate of 10 to 60000 in less than a year, it can be a good source

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

I am not inventing the wheel again, i am only using and trying to promote a special plant that has been worldwide used as both a water cleanser and business material. Prisoners at Murchison Bay Reserve in Uganda make furniture from water hyacinth, learning new craft skills whilst they are in prison, as well as contributing to clearing Lake Victoria. Women at the WHUP (Water Hyacinth Utilization Project) in Kenya are making money from the menace, selling handmade water hyacinth chairs, tables, baskets, shades, paper, books, and cards. In many different countries, where the flower has become a nuisance, it is used as biogas provider, feasibility studies already existing about it. Draughts wont affect the plant, unless the lakes will dry
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Water hyacinth can be used on the land either as a green manure or as compost. As a greenmanure it can be either ploughed into the ground or used as a mulch. The plant is ideal for composting, an elegant solution to the problem of water hyacinth and poor soil quality. 1. After removing the plant from the water, leave it to dry for a few days 2. Mix the dried plant with ash, soil and some animal manure. Microbial decomposition breaks down the fats, lipids, proteins, sugars and starches 3. Leave the mixture in piles to compost, producing a rich safe compost which can be applied directly to the soil. Compost increases soil fertility and crop yield. This will provide a decent solution to bio/eco crops, without polluting fertilizer.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Right now, in my country, the plant is only used as a pond flower, regardless of the studies provided by famous biologists. Only in Africa, Thailand and other countries where it grows naturally the plant is used for any of the qualities listed above. China has also tried to use the plant for cleaning water from pig farms, and also using it as a food supliment for the same animal. Even if the water hyacinth is regarded as a pest in some countries, due to it's fast reproduction rate, the locals use it as a means to produce handmade objects, as chairs, tables, baskets etc, thus increasing their revenue and being able to live a decent life. Because of its extremely high rate of development, Eichhornia crassipes is an excellent source of biomass. One hectare of standing crop thus produce more than 70,000 m3 of biogas.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

If the plant can be used at a large level, becoming involved in all the uses that it can provide, more people will start growing it. Due to our climate, the plant will wither and die during winter, but if the seeds are good, it can reproduce when the temperature is well again. This way it can provide a decent mass for food, biogas, furniture, etc. All that is needed is one region where it can be fully utilized and succeed, and then it will easily be adopted by other entrepreneurs. Small enterprises will be able to grow due to it.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The budget needed for this project is not that small, because the growing of the plant during the cold season will need a few large tanks of water, where the plant can thrive untill planted in more suitable places, like lakes and rivers. Also, there will be cages needed, from non-polluting material, for the restraining of the plant in lakes and rivers. By selling the plants to individuals or businesses, the business can evolve and survive

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

At the moment, there is absolutely no competitor on the market. As stated before, the plant is solely regarded as a decorative flower in ponds. Nobody uses it in any of the aformentioned fields, so this will be a good opportunity for this business to evolve and introduce the water hyacinth to our country. During the first 2 years, i do not think that many companies will embrace this new business opportunity and it will give us a chance to grab a large share of the market. this way we will be able to provide cheaper services than the ones that will come after us.
Team

Founding Story

While looking for a solution for my hometowns pollution problem ( I come from Baia Mare, declared the most polluted city in my country when i was small), mostly how to clean our river from all the impurities and populate it with fish and other plan tlife, i found this flower, the water hyacinth. I was amazed by it's many uses and properties and decided to try and promote the plant and even write a project about it. Unfortunately i couldn't write anything till now, because there haven't been any funds in my country for what i want to do. I tried the plant in my own little pond and saw that it does have a big growth rate, but also, if there are large fish present, they can use the plant as food also.

Team

Ieremia Dan - european funds consultant for over 6 years Cristian Ieremia - european funds consultant for over 20 years Alexandra Mitre - consultant trainee Andreea Matei - consultant trainee Andreea Crisan - consultant trainee Our trainees have already started to write projects and learn how to better implement an idea and business, all being university graduates with a diploma in management. As we grow, we will find more people to help us
About You
Organization:
Colegiul National "Gheorghe Sincai" Baia Mare
About You
First Name

Ieremia

Last Name

Dan Gabriel

About Your Project
Organization Name

Colegiul National "Gheorghe Sincai" Baia Mare

How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Bucharest

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Country wide

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Businesses, Regional government, Other.

Supplemental
Sector

Improving Nutrition, Water Use, Waste and Packaging, Sustainable Sourcing, Smallholder Farmers.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

The customers vary, regarding each use of the plant. Since this plant is an extremely useful one, and can be transformed into almost anything, from farm food to paper, natural gases, furniture or fertilizer, while at the same time producing a lot of oxygen and cleaning the water, by reducing the amount of pollutants.
One customer will be the local farmer, who will be able to use the plant to feed his animals, mainly pigs, since the plant is suited for pig feeding.This depends on the quantity of pollutant

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

The prize money will be used to acquire a building where I can grow the water hyacinth during winter, so I can start distributing it as soon as the water temperature outside is optimal. Also, by spreading the word about this plant, I can make sure that more people will start using it in their rivers and polluted lakes. At the moment there are few people that use the flower as anything described above.
A decent publicity will ensure the future use of the plant and help people realize just how useful it can be for agriculture, furniture or paper making etc.
Considering now there are no other entrepreneurs using this flower, we can ensure that it will become better know throughout the country.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

I am a UE funds consultant, so my expertise is in writing projects and thinking of a proper way to help people in opening a business and keeping it afloat. In my 6 years I have written many projects, not all involved in business making, but in the social field also. I have worked as an evaluator for our local government, verifying the ideas proposed by different organizations.
In other projects i have given advice to student for project writing

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

Are you are a current Unilever employee?

randomness