Figure 2. Photos of plant fibre products: (A) bamboo baskets; calabash from pumpkin and brooms and chicken poops in Eswatini, (B) cane furniture; floor mats and baskets and palm fibre toys in Malawi and (C) baobab fibre mats; and palm and bamboo baskets in Zimbabwe. (Photo credits: Deepa Pullanikkatil (A,B) and Gladman Thondhlana (C).
The production of plant fibre products is considered a promising pathway for contributing to people’s livelihoods particularly in developing countries, where economic options might be limited. However, there are limited comparative studies across countries on plant fibre products, making it difficult to examine how local and broader biophysical, socioeconomic, cultural and policy contexts influence craft production patterns in terms of primary plant resources used, products made and contributions to livelihoods. Using household surveys for data collection, this paper presents findings from a comparative analysis of plant fibre craft production and income in three southern African countries, Eswatini, Malawi and Zimbabwe.