What does the Vetiver System do?

Every now and then we need to remind ourselves what the Vetiver System will do:

A: RESOURCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION
Reduce soil loss by up to 90% and rainfall runoff by up to 70%.
Reduce nutrient losses and improve soil moisture – up to 50% crop yield increases.
Improve soil moisture, reduce impact of drought, increase crop yields.
Improved survival and growth of planted trees by as much as 80%.
Improve groundwater, stream and spring flow, regeneration of wetlands.
Improve water quality and reduce pollution by containment and treatment of waste.
Protection of farm canal, drains, roads, and buildings – reduced maintenance costs.
Flood protection.

B: Direct farm and farm family benefits
Mulch: long lasting mulch – enhances soil moisture, organic matter & nutrients.
Forage: High yielding (up 70 tons dry matter/ha) if managed and cut regularly.
Thatch and rope: thatch lasts much longer than most other thatching material.
Fuel: Mature grass has a high energy value. It has potential as a community energy. source – direct burning or as feedstock for biogas plants.
Pest control: Push pull maize/ sorghum stem borer reduction.
Handicraft material: Vetiver leaf makes excellent handicrafts.
Vetiver Plant Propagation: sale of plant material for use off the farm – highly profitable.
Medicinal uses: wide range of medicinal uses for internal and external purposes.

All the above can be achieved with very little effort if the community as a whole is involved.

A farmer with 1 ha of land on a 20% slope would need to plant 17 rows equivalent to 1,700 meters (14,000 plant slips) of vetiver hedgerows, this would take about 10 man days of planting.

The extraordinary thing to note is that full introduction of a farm and community Vetiver hedgerow system would, result in nearly all of the above benefits being available to each and every farmer. and would impact the community as a whole.

What an extraordinary plant!!

Dick Grimshaw