Yesterday I met a lady who takes the bark from a certain type of tree, pulps it and makes paper. This paper is then sold as a specialty gift paper to tourists and others. It’s an example of Malagasy entrepreneurship, where the whole family is part of, and all supported by, this business. The manufacturing takes place in their backyard, the retail sales from their front porch.
In a rather laborious process, they first pulp the bark, then lay it out on a big sheet and submerge it in water. It’s then taken out after it has settled evenly and is decorated while still wet with flowers. Once dried, they can create everything from cards to boxes. The cards and more elaborate items sell for around $1 each, which nets a healthy profit from the original cost of the bark, which is a couple dollars per kilo.