In Wulublolong Village, there is a challenge faced by basket weavers. It is the inefficient and time-consuming process of cutting palmyra leaves into strips. The traditional method is to use a simple knife but this means there is no consistency in the width of the strips, producing lower quality products and leading to wastage.
NTT (including East Flores) has a centuries-long tradition of basket weaving. The biodiversity and climate of NTT are conducive to sustaining basket weaving activities (Indonesian Trade Research and Development Agency). One of the essential natural materials used for basket-weaving is palmyra leaves or lontar. These leaves grow from tall palms capable of growing up to 30 meters high. The leaves are fan-shaped and up to two to three meters in length. Most lontar handicraft-makers make custom-ordered products, such as tissue holders, pot-plant holders and purses.
One challenge faced by basket weavers is the inefficient and time-consuming process of cutting palmyra leaves into strips. The traditional method is to use a simple knife but this means there is no consistency in the width of the strips, producing lower quality products and leading to wastage.
With the Kopernik-designed palmyra leaf cutter, we want to improve the process of cutting palmyra leaves, making the process more efficient than the previous tools used.
We hypothesize that Kopernik’s palmyra leaf cutter will create leaf strips with a more consistent width and create more strips than alternative tools in the same timeframe.
THE EXPECTED IMPACT
The export value of basketware is significant in the national economy. Indonesia is the fourth largest exporter of basketware in the world after China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. As of November 2016, Indonesia exported approximately US$57.4 million worth of basketware and wickerware. The US, the EU, and the Asia-Pacific region are the main export destinations of Indonesian-made basketware.
Kopernik assumes that the demand for basketware will continue in the global market as the trend for home decor and fashion products made from “eco-friendly” materials strengthens. In order to compete globally and continue to attract buyers, basketware weavers in Indonesia will need to rely on creativity and quality. We believe that by regulating the width of the leaf strips consistently, the Kopernik palmyra leaf cutter will help weavers to make more high quality products.
THE BROADER IMPACT
The results showed that:
- The leaf cutter was generating fewer leaf strips than the manual knife methods and resulted in less consistency of leaf width, with 43 percent less consistent strip width;
- Despite the overall reduced production capacity and reduced consistency as compared to the knife, the experiment showed that production capacity increased over time as the weavers became more comfortable with using the leaf cutter. The weavers began with producing 123 strips on the first day to 277 strips on the tenth day
- If the leaf cutter performed as intended, when using the leaf cutter, there could be two steps the weavers would not have to undertake compared to the manual process, 1) preparing the kenika, and 2) cutting the second strip.
Project Implementation & Technology
Costs associated with project coordination and the technology
Monitoring & Evaluation
Costs associated with data collection, analysis and reporting
Cost of transferring payments internationally, processing online donations (5%) and a contribution to Kopernik's operational costs (15%)
This project is implemented by Yayasan Kopernik and Kopernik Japan on behalf of our client who funded this project.