How to stave off the bad fate of an ecological disaster and transform it into an economic opportunity? The accomplices David Gnonlonfoun and Mouftaou Fohla have found the solution to this equation thanks to their ingenuity.

The water hyacinth

The Beninese lakes are invaded by the water hyacinth, since its introduction in the 19th century under the colonization, in order to beautify the water points. Since then this floating aquatic plant, originating from Brazil, has become a nightmare.

It blocks boats movement, interfere with the fishing, kills the biodiversity by capturing the oxygen in the water and promotes the spread of diseases.

Hyacinth flower

The Keepers

The determination of the former building engineer and pediatrician who are David and Fohla, allowed them to make the best of a bad situation. Behind the scourge that represents the plant, stands a staggering capacity of absorption both in the water and on land.

That a plant can absorb four to seventeen times its weight, depending on the nature of the liquid. Green Keeper Africa in partnership with a Mexican company, Tema, uses the fiber of the hyacinth water to fight against hydrocarbons pollution.

The market is huge. Although Benin is not an oil producer, the West African coasts, Central Africa and sub-Saharan represent a huge potential market. The ecosystem is regularly cleared of its parasites. Then transformed in biofertilizers products, biofuels, dietary fiber for animals and, especially, in a powder of highly filter hydrocarbons.

Benin, Lake Nokoue

The green business is also sustainable since it relaunched the activity in the surrounding area. The collection makes work a hundreds of people and fourteen employees.

The researchers from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, in Benin, considered that although the exploitation offers a interesting track for alternative uses. It will not reduce the pressure of the plant in the affected regions.

However, the advance remains beautiful in economic and ecological terms. And far from sit idly by, we can now count on the two friends to tackle the problem.