A. The following is a
country-by-country status report.
(a) The pioneer of vetiver in Portugal is Antonio Vasco de Mello.
He imported plants from South Africa two years ago onto his property near Alpiarça in
Central Portugal (39º 14' N; 8º 33' W). Many of the soils are sandy and highly erodable.
He intends to use the vetiver for protection of dams, control of gullying in cultivated
valley bottoms and for erosion control and improved water retention in hillside slopes of
poor soils planted to trees. The plants are currently growing well. Continued observation
will be made to determine the performance of these plants at this latitude.
b) In March 1998 some 2,500 slips each of 3-4 tillers were imported
from Zimbabwe. These have been planted in 17 trials nurseries located throughout the
Algarve Region of Portugal and with one in the Alentejo to the North (38º 40' N; 7º 18'
W), three in the Açores archipelago (38º N) and 1 in Southern Spain (36º 37' N; 4º 40'
W). The group of importers includes: two official bodies, the Departments of Agriculture
at Tavira (Eastern Algarve-37º 8' N; 7º 39' W) and the Açores (in conjunction with the
University); a non-governmental organisation; two commercial horticultural operations and
the rest private landowners.
The initial objective is to multiply up from the base material whilst
observing growth performance and maintaining a close observation on any pests or plagues.
Thereafter, as planting material becomes available the vetiver will be used for a variety
of field trials. These will include dam protection, highway embankment stabilisation,
protection of toxic waste dumps, and stabilisation of the landward side of eroded cliff
In the Açores much of the soil is volcanic pumice which becomes
unstable when sodden. The potential or limitations of vetiver will be assessed to
stabilise these soils.
The 17 trials being undertaken cover a variety of climatic and
pedologic conditions. Most of the soils in the Algarve (37ºN) are calcareous but in two
higher locations they are acidic. The region enjoys some 3,000 hours sunshine and
precipitation varies from about 450mm p.a. to over 1,000mm in the two higher locations.
c) The long-term objective is to expand the locations of trials to
determine the potential or limitations of vetiver for this region of Southern Europe.
Emphasis will be placed on determining, under different geographic, climatic and pedologic
conditions: root growth rate; tiller multiplication rate; biomass production; sensitivity
to reduced sunshine hours at more northerly latitudes; sensitivity to frost; and ability
to survive low annual precipitation with prolonged periods of drought.
d) Continued efforts will be made to interest the Universities,
Government Departments and other research bodies in this work. The Co-ordinator has
already approached official bodies concerned with the issues of desertification and
protection of the littoral in Portugal.
Vetiver was introduced into Spain in 1995 under an EC funded
project which now ceases to function as such on account of lack of funds. However,
germplasm stocks have been established at El Rebat near Barcelona (41º 18' N; 2º 15' E).
In addition vetiver has been established and has performed well at El Chopillo and Lorca
(37º 42' N; 1º 42' W) in Murcia Region under harsh climatic and pedologic conditions,
annual precipitation is some 250mm. The Co-ordinator has spoken on vetiver at Cártama
University, Málaga and has established communications with a scientist working on vetiver
related maters at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Madrid. Two private growers of
vetiver have been identified, one near Málaga and one near Cadiz. EMVN will continue to
expand its contacts particularly in regard to the use of vetiver within the context of
Work on vetiver related topics has been undertaken by Professor
Vito Sardo at Catania University, Sicily (37º 30' N; 15º E). From an importation of 12
Monto variety plants imported from Australia in 1996 2,000 plants are under field
observation and 1,000 are in pots. Biomass production comparisons (both aerial and roots)
commenced in 1997, comparing vetiver to Napier grass, Energycane and Giant reeds. In
addition, vetiver will be included for comparison with other depurating plants in their
efficiency to treat domestic waste waters. In 1999, vetiver's performance in combating
run-off and soil erosion will be examined using rain simulators.
Positive reactions to the establishment of trials plots have been
received from a NGO, The American Farm School Thessaloniki (40º 40' N; 22º 50' E) and
from the Soil Science Institute of the National Agricultural Research Foundation, Athens
(38º N; 23º 45' E). The principal factor limiting the early establishment of trials, as
in cases elsewhere, is the cost and difficulty of importing small quantities of plants.
Nevertheless, trials are expected to be established during 1998.
In early 1997 some 3,000 plants were imported by the externally
funded Albania Private Forestry Development Program. Amongst other locations field
plantings are planned to be established in Korcë (40º 36' N; 21º 12' E).
The Departments of Agriculture and Forestry in the Ministry of
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment have both expressed initial interest in
establishing vetiver trials.
Dr. Michael Zoebisch of ICARDA proposes to establish vetiver trials
at the ICARDA station, Aleppo during 1998, the only limiting factor being importation of
8. Jordan and Tunisia
It is possible that the ICARDA stations may commence vetiver trials
in 1998, having been encouraged to do so by the headquarters in Aleppo. In the case of
Tunisia, Trochain (1940) recorded vetiver as having been introduced into the country by
Europeans. To date, no information has yet been obtained as to the current status of
vetiver production in Tunisia.
9. West Asian Countries
Despite various attempts through contact to official bodies no
positive response has yet been received to establish trials in such countries as Turkey or
Iran. There would seem to be strong justification for the potential or limitations of
vetiver to be examined in Turkey especially. Contacts are sought that might lead to
A number of members of the Vetiver Network are located in Israel
and the Co-ordinator has contacted some but with no positive response yet received. It is
not yet known whether vetiver already exists in Israel.
Anecdotally, Sandy Storrar recalls, when at Edinburgh University in
1938, hearing Professor Shearer enthuse of the vetiver he had observed growing in Egypt.
Egypt possesses a significant scent industry and it is likely that vetiver will have been
grown or is still growing within this context. Despite various attempts no contact has yet
been established who can confirm the current status of vetiver production in Egypt.
Two positive responses have been received to establish vetiver
trials in Morocco. One comes from the Department of Forests and the other is a private
B. General Issues from the Co-ordinator's Office
An application will be submitted for EC funding to cover the period
1999-2001. If this application is successful it will permit the general expansion of
vetiver trials and field application throughout the EMVN Region. It will strengthen the
office of the Co-ordinator and permit more effective cross pollination of knowledge and
experience on vetiver application through more effective information dissemination,
holding of field days and conferences as appropriate.
2. EMVN as a Free-standing Body
At present EMVN is, in effect, a branch of TVN. As such an
application for financial assistance from the EC is less likely to be favourably viewed
than if it were a free-standing body. Accordingly, action is currently being taken to
establish EMVN officially as a non-profit organisation independent of but closely linked
to TVN. Whilst EMVN operations cover a number of countries, EMVN would be registered in
The principal function of EMVN is to act as a centre of
communications, dissemination information on vetiver throughout the Region and
co-ordinating vetiver activities where necessary for the benefit of researchers and those
involved in field application. Contacts are the critical ingredient to the ability of the
Co-ordinator's office to function effectively. The Co-ordinator seeks help from readers of
the above in providing contacts that can be followed up and which, hopefully, will lead to
an expansion of vetiver activity within the Region.
April 6, 1998