Haiti Again!

A quick note from Criss Juliard:

“As the WINNER project has a substantial budget, its emphasis on using Vetiver has spawned a “copy” by other projects, donors and NGOs. A new project in the North has signed a 4 year contract with a private vetiver production firm we helped establish to protect watershed covering 4000 ha where they are to plant 750 km of vetiver hedgerow.

For those who knew about the problems in getting the Vetiver System (non-essential oil competitor) accepted by the government of Haiti, its earlier refusal was based on the concern that people would rip up Vetiver plants planted for erosion control and sell them to the essential oil industry. So far, no one of the WINNER project (WINNER stands for Watershed National Natural Environmental Resources) has heard or seen the theft of a vetiver plant of all the zones it  has been planted to date”.

I have never accepted “the digging up” of vetiver hedges as a real problem.  In many cases, as in Indonesia, India, and Haiti,  the soil conservation department staff either deliberately concocted the story because vetiver conflicted with their own and alternative agendas, or they misread what was going on in areas where vetiver was cultivated for its aromatic oil.  Often in these circumstances vetiver was planted on already eroded and non productive agricultural land, or planted on very light volcanic “ash” soils that eroded as a result of the vetiver roots being harvested.  This erosion could easily have been prevented by cultivating harvestable vetiver between permanent vetiver hedgerows. – Editor.

Have you visited Mike Mahowald’s website Haiti Reconstruction recently?  He has some really interesting info on a wide range of topics including briquetting, composting, dry toilets etc. all with relevance to vetiver.