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Vetiver and Soil Conservation (FACT Sheets) Vol.2, No.1 & 2 Issued
Vetiver and Soil Conservation (FACT Sheets) Vol.2, No.1 and No. 2 issued. The No.1 introduced the biological characters of the grass and how to establish hedges on slope land. No.2 described how the hedges protect farm land and increase crop yield. These publications were in Chinese and distributed to technicians and mater farmers in southern China..
Letters from vetiver users
Almost every day, we receive letters from government officials, engineers, technicians, university professors and students, and scientists, asking questions, expressing their wishes, and sending us their comments, suggestions, and further considerations. The followings are three selected letters from county chief, director of NGO, etc.
1 March, 1998
Dear Mr Xu,
I would like to express my sincere thanks to you and The Vetiver Network (TVN) for your generous support for 7000 Yuan RMB (US$ 875). With your funds we introduced vetiver grass and established a nursery in Changpu town.
Besides, with your technical guidance and very useful publications our Forestry Bureau planted the grass on the barren hills where no plants can survive. It was proved that vetiver can act as a pioneer plant for the recovery of vegetation on extreme soils.
As spring is coming we are enlarging our nursery to produce more planting materials in order to introduce vetiver to new towns and villages and for multiple uses.
As you know that the Dabie Mountain is one of the most poverty area in the country situated at the bordering area of three provinces (Anhui Province, Hubei Province, and Henan Province). There are more than a dozen of counties identified as Poverty Counties by the central government, while our county is a typical county located at the hinterland of the mountain. The mean annual income is only around 400 Yuan RMB per capita (about US$50). To relief poverty, farmers cleared forests, built earth terraces and planted tea, mulberry, and chestnut and other commercial trees on a large scale. Because this kind of production management lacks protection measures, it has usually led to more soil erosion, resulting in the decrease of soil fertility. Consequently, the commercial trees have not grown well. More often, serious soil erosion occurred before commercial trees and new vegetation matured. Successful examples showed that vetiver can play an important role in preventing soil erosion and stabilizing slopes. As a result, we are going to extend the grass to the whole county with 2374 sq.kms and 61 townships to protect commercial trees, produce fuel, and bio-gas materials in order to improve farmers livelihood and protect natural resources as well. It would be appreciated if you can provide us more assistance, both financial and technical, so that we can speed up the extension steps.
In addition, in the past year many nearby counties visited us and expressed great interests in the grass. I would like to suggest that you coordinate multiple institutions from different provinces and counties to launch a new program to extend the vetiver technology to the whole Dabie Mountain area with 100,000 sq.km, where the sandy soils were all derived from granite subject to serious soil erosion.
Thank you for your consideration.
Date: 3 March 1998
China Vetiver Network (CVN)
Dear Mr Grimshaw,
Under your technical guidance and in cooperation with other institutions, we started to plant vetiver grass and became familiar with the grass since 1989. During the first few years, we planted the grass to protect our earth terrace where tea and fruit trees had been planted. Because the soil here were mostly derived from granite on deep weathered parent materials, soil erosion had been very serious and crops could hardly grow well especially where the terraces were newly constructed. To control soil erosion we established demonstrations in collaborating with the Soil and Water Conservation Station of Fujian Province. Since then the technology was extended rapidly, in the recent few years in particular, when more information was disseminated widely from China Vetiver Network (CVN), such as Vetiver Newsletters, Vetiver and Soil Conservation ( FACT sheets).
Furthermore, under financial support of mini-grants for US$875 we established a new demonstration area showing how the grass stabilizes the highway and protects rice field downward the highway. In order to disseminate the technology of the miracle grass more rapidly and smoothly, my colleagues and I established a new institution as Minbei High-tech Agricultural Research and Development Center. This is an NGO, approved by the government under recent reform policy.
In Fujian Province there were 4,000 km of highways constructed during the period of 1992 - 1996. The highways were usually constructed on the deeply weathered granite, from few meters to several dozens of meters deep, and were subject to soil erosion and collapse, leading to damaged highways and new soil erosion along the road. To protect highways engineers had to use rocks and concrete to reinforce critical sections of the road embankments. There are 2.6 million sq. meters of road embankment slopes that needs to be protected in Fujian Province. However due to financial constraints, there is only a very small percentage of the slopes protected. Therefore, we are extending the vetiver technology which is both effective and economical, to stabilize highway and control soil erosion. It would be my great pleasure if TVN could continue to provide us financial and technical assistance, and help us to hold training courses so that more people can grasp the technology.
26 March 1998
At first I would like to use this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to you for your generous support concerning the vetiver introduction and extension.
Our township is located at the suburb area involving in crop production as its main task, with 13000 Mu farm land (about 867 ha) in which about a half was derived from sea coast. To increase crop yield and farmers income we planted beans and other vegetables at Shangyang village. However, caused by strong wind they failed to grow well. To solve this problem the head of the village led villagers to visit the vetiver demonstration site at Daping Village of Zhonglou Town. Though looking and discussion they found that vetiver can stabilize the sandy dunes and act as winds break to protect crops. As a result, we requested assistance from China Vetiver Network.
As a representative member of CVN in Fujian Province, Ms Zhangjin visited us and sent us planting materials and very useful information. Under her direction, the farmers in Shanyang village established 3000 m vetiver hedges to protect 60 Mu of vegetable land. Further more, they have established a nursery for 6 Mu and planted 2700 m hedges around their village as wind break and to protect chicken entering the vegetable garden. Besides, they also planted vetiver along the ditches to prevent sediments. The ditches were used to reduce salt content of the soil.
As a director of Lanchen Town, I and my colleagues are going to promote the extension of vetiver technology to other villages in order to improve micro-climate and farm ecology to increase farmers income and livelihood.
Thank you again for your financial and technical assistance and look forward to your further help so that the vetiver could extend more rapidly in the coastal area.
Best wishes to you and vetiver network.