The Vetiver Network,
Philippines was established in December 1996. It is
administered by Mr. Edwin Balbarino of The Farm Resource
Management Institute (FARMI), ViSCA, Baybay, Leyte, The
Philippines. Email address: "Balbarino
Persons interested in supporting
this network and participating in its work should
comntact directly Edwin Balbarino
The Philippine is an archipelago of over 7,000 islands.
Its land area is 30,000,000 hectares, about two-thirds of
which is hilly and mountainous. About 15 percent of the
alienable and disposable lands are vulnerable to erosion.
In the past, upland areas were covered with tropical
rainforest vegetation and human population was sparsely
disributed. Few problems existed in these upland areas.
However, given an increasing human population, together
with indiscriminate exploitation of the forest the
uplands have become marginal and less capable of
sustaining productivity and supporting the basic needs of
human society (Sajise 1986).
Deforestation and improper land use are predominant in
the Philippine upland These are primarily responsible for
accelerated soil erosion that has resulted to severe loss
of the top soil, deterioration of agricultural lands,
reduced water supply, increased occurrence of flooding
and increased sedimentation of rivers, lakes and
reservoirs. The acceleration of environmental degradation
in the uplands is also attributed to soil-degrading
Today, areas affected by agricultural degradation area
characterized by barren denuded hills and mountains with
very few remaining trees and mainly vegetated with Imperata
cylindrica and brush.
Vetiver grass against soil erosion
Soil erosion is caused by the washing down of the soil
during heavy rains. Erosion can be checked by putting up
a physical structures and live barriers across the farm
scope. There are several options for contour farming
using live barriers. One of these is Vetiver (Vetiveria
zizanioides). Vetiver had been tried and studies by
some upland projects in the Philippines. Researchers
found out that among the different grass and leguminous
tree shrub hedgerow species, Vetiver is the most
effective controlling soil erosion because of its unique
physical characteristics. As a result, Vetiver technology
has been recommended in the Philippines and included in
the Agroforestry Technology Information Kit (ATIK)
published by IIRR, DENR and Ford Foundation in 1992.
The Need for a Network
Some upland development projects and farmers in the
Philippines started usingVetiver grass some decades ago.
Vetiver has been used in stabilizing rice field dikes and
irrigation canals. One of these projects that did
research on Vetiver is the Farm and Resource Management
Institute (FARMI) at ViSCA, Baybay, Leyte. After five
years of testing Vetiver to control erosion, farmers and
project staff arrived at a common conclusion of Vetiver's
effectiveness in controlling soil erosion. From these
experiences, a Cebuano (local dialect) Vetiver
Technoguide was published. Aside from FARMI, there are
now many agencies, projects, farmers using Vetiver in
their farms. Just in Eastern Visayas alone, Vetiver is
now being used in 5 upland development projects namely:
Upland Extrapolation Project in Baybay, Leyte, Integrated
Rootcrop Project in Pinabacdao, Samar. Cassava Production
Project in Bontoc, southern Leyte and Small Island
Agricultural Support Services Program in Biliran
Province. Demand for planting materials has increased
tremendously. Several programs reported that Vetiver is
being used throughout the Philippines. In the recent
years these Vetiver development programs have
accomplished the following:
Vetiver nurseries and demonstration farms.
Vetiver seminars, trainings and workshops.
Distribution of planting materials.
Publication of a technoguide.
Presentation of Vetiver papers in national and
Vetiver poster presentations.
Studies on the Vetiver applications arid management.
Using Vetiver in agroforestry projects with corn,
vegetables, trees (fruit and timber trees) and rootcrops.
Using Vetiver in various uses
(roof, medicine, etc.).
Vetiver in Agroforestry Technology Kits.
Vetiver in SWC projects winning in regional and national
While these reports about Vetiver have been received and
circulated around the country and outside, there is no
information service specific to Vetiver available in the
country. Because of this, thousands of upland development
institutions and related projects/organizations are still
unfamiliar with the grass.
Aside from this, there are tremendous body of
knowledge/information generated by Vetiver users and
research centers around the world that need to be made
available to upland development extension workers and
project administrators and upland farmers in the
In the domestic front, there is a need to have an
organized and well coordinated research and extension
projects on Vetiver. What is urgently needed is an
extension program and information sharing about the
miracle that Vetiver can give to rehabilitate the
To do all of these things is difficult unless a Vetiver
network in the Philippines will be
establ ished .
To increase interaction among Vetiver users (farmers
organization, extension workers and researchers) and
encourage exchanger of experiences, knowledge and skill
in using Vetiver.
To facilitate collaborative Vetiver research and
extension projects amonq Vetiver user/ potential network
To disseminate Vetiver technology to a wider circle of
farmers and organizations in the Philippines
To share Philippine experience on Vetiver to other parts
of the world
The establishment of the Network
Philippine Vetiver Network is to be developed based on
and in cooperation with existing Vetiver users and other
agricultural networks in the Philippines. Some of the
existing related networks are the conservation Farming
Movement, Agroforestry and Forestry Network and the
conservation Farming for the Tropical Uplands Program.
The following activities will be conducted:
Inventory of Vetiver users in the Philippines.
Publication of a Vetiver Newsletter in English.
Publication of Vetiver Fact Sheets in English and in
Translation of the Cebuano Vetiver Technoguide published
by FARMI into English, and Tagalog.
English publications will be distributed to universities,
agricultural projects, local and national agriculture and
forestry agencies and institutions and networks outside
Conduct simple on-farm experiment on Vetiver using
graduate and undergraduate students and existing research
Holding of national and sub-national meetings and
workshops for farmers, researchers and extension workers.
Organize field tours to Vetiver demonstration/ project
Expansion of nurseries and demonstration farms in
selected sites in the Philippines.
Strengthen domestic information exchange with other
agriculture, forestry and resource management networks
(national and international).
Publish Vetiver news articles in national papers.
conduct farmer-to-farmer training.