This workshop held in Kochi (Cochin) from February 21-23 2008 was ably managed by the Indian Vetiver Network with support from Tata Tea Co Ltd, KDHP Co Ltd, and The Vetiver Network International. 

Some 300 participants showed up for the inaugural session and there were about the same number at the workshop’s closing, a good indication of participant interest.

The following workshop papers and associated power points will be available at and at shortly.







Introduction and Review                                                   

Environmental Protection

Natural Disaster Management

 Agriculture and Other Applications.

 Socio-Economic Impact

Other Uses of Vetiver




There were some excellent papers covering a broad range of Vetiver System applications and topics.  The workshop brought together farmers, engineers, NGO’s, private sector and government agencies from all over India, as well as some who came from outside India.  Although there was still a little skepticism from a few, the overwhelming majority endorsed the Vetiver System and are anxious to see its application widely spread and used.  This workshop was the first time in India that all the Vetiver Systems applications were presented as an interlinked group covering many sectors.

The following are some aspects that I would like to highlight:


Vetiver oil farm in India.

A 35 hectare vetiver oil farm in Tamilnadu.  Well managed, no erosion, and producing non fertile domesticated vetiver cultivars that could be used as plant material for vetiver applications.

I am often asked why such an important and effective technology as the Vetiver System is not more widely used for soil and water conservation. I think that during this visit to India we may have stumbled on an important reason. We are always told that vegetative conservation systems are the way to go and that there are many plants that bind the soil, that can be used instead of vetiver.  True - most plants protect and bind soil, however there are very few plants (in fact none other than vetiver grass to my knowledge) that when grown as a narrow hedgerow will: improve the shear strength of soil by as much as 40%; retain as much as 90% of sediment flow to create natural terraces, punch through hard pans and slow down and spread out rainfall runoff  so that up to 70% of rainfall runoff is captured on the land for groundwater recharge; provide large quantities of good quality forage for livestock; protect nearby crops against pests; improve crop yields; reduce excess crop nutrients and pesticides from entering and polluting surface water rivers and drainage systems; and in the future be probably eligible for carbon credits.

The Vetiver System requires that vetiver grass be planted as a dense and continuous hedgerow on the contour so that it forms an effective barrier that functions with properties as described above. I believe that once people understand these principles and benefits many of the objections to its use will fall away. India is facing major problems that include soil erosion, rapidly declining ground water, and water pollution. The Vetiver System is a proven and very good technology that when used correctly can deal with many of these issues at one time and at low cost!


Published March 8, 2008