VETIVERIA NIGRITANA AND ITS USE IN SENEGAL

Criss Juliard, Criss Juliard, cjuliard@chemonics.net, a TVN director who works in Senegal, is looking at the possibility of using vetiver in Senegal. He has found that traditionallly it is used quite widely for everything but erosion control!!
Here are some of his notes and photos. We will up date this page as and when more information is received.

I just returned from 6 days in the field, finding a lot more vetiver and a lot more uses than I even mentioned before. One old timer told us when he was a kid, their corn was continually attacked by birds. As protection, they would wrap the vetiver leaf around new corn cobs, and this he said prevented the birds from pecking at the ripening corn. It was labor intensive, but it worked. Another spoke of women grinding vetiver roots (nigritana) into powder and using it to heal wounds, reduce swelling, and in a sense use it as an antiseptic.

The most common use of nigritana in Mali and Senegal is as a "water purifier," a disinfectant and and antiseptic. It apparently helps eliminate pathogens bacteria. Friends from the French Research Institute are to conduct tests on the roots to see what proof can be culled from this "folk" application.

Vetiver nigritana resisting erosion (Senegal)


Traditional vetiver hedgerows planted by farmers. Note spacing, but the concept is still to make a straight line to retain water and reduce erosion. (S.E Senegal). Note that very little else is growing in this dry climate.

Thatch roof using vetiver — near Kedougou , Senegal

A lesson in thatching could improve the life of the thatch for years!!

V. nigritana growing in the wild and having been cut for thatch (Bassin arachidie, Senegal)

Hat made completely from vetiver by peasants who have never cultivated vetiver ; only cut it in the wild (Senegal)

Handicraft by the Dioula people of Southern Senegal

Peulh hut in Northern Senegal made of vetiver (nigritana) stems and leaves. Base of walls are of a stronger plant. Outside it is hot, inside it feels cooled and "air conditioned"