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Thai treasures!

Thai treasures!
Vetiver handicrafts

Paul Truong

Paul Truong
Ho Chi Minh Highway

Ho Chi Minh Highway

Ho Chi Minh Highway
Vetiver has done its job! 14 years later stable slopes, clean road drains, and now mainly native species

The Vetiver System and India - It takes a generation!

A recent quote from a senior official in West Bengal India:

"Soil erosion is one of the largest environmental issues facing the earth today; and the river banks region of India, with heavy rainfall, is particularly affected. Erosion devastates infrastructural activities- landslides, erosion by river and flood water take heavy toll of developed infrastructure. From an engineer’s perspective sustainable asset management has posed as a gargantuan task because of soil erosion. Traditional hard engineering is now found to be inconsistent with the three pillars of sustainability - economy, social and environmental. Hard engineering interventions to prevent erosion have been attempted over decades in the region, incurring large financial and environmental costs, and with limited success. This in combination with limited State budgets makes finding an alternative, low cost, environmentally sustainable solution imperative. One such method that shows considerable promise is Vetiver grass."

30 years ago (a generation ago) John Greenfield and I, when working for the World Bank in India, re-introduced the Vetiver Grass Technology (VGT) as an alternative to the engineering approach  - the latter did not work very well - too expensive, heavily subsidized, badly maintained, and mostly ineffective.  We were not very popular for promoting vetiver grass hedgerows as components of World Bank funded projects (Indian Watershed Projects in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh States) as an alternative and better technological and economic solution; questions were tabled in the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, some people even wanted to ban the technology!

Well, as you can see from the above quote, we have come a long way from those days, thanks to a new generation of professionals and the pressure created by climate change and social needs that demand alternative, effective and lower cost solutions.

News from China

The second year of a new project: ”Vetiver and agroforestry for poverty reduction and natural resource protection in the Dabie mountains of China”, supported by Germany, continues to promote VS technology in this very poor part of China.

Mr. Yong Lu, associate professorfrom School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, has redesigned our website  When opened by Google Chrome browser it can be nicely translated to English

A new book “Vetiver System Research, Application and Extension”, edited by Xia Hanping and Liyu Xu will introduce new VS development since 2008 in China and in the world. This will follow a book titled “Vetiver System: Theory and Practice” published in 2008.

We will establish a new network: Southwest China Vetiver Network based on  Kunming to promote VS development in a region covered by many mountains.
Vetiver Coordinator, Liyu Xu.

Vetiver as a livestock forage

Liyu Xu, Vetiver Coordinator for China, has been promoting the Vetiver System for 20 years, and continues to provide us with feedback on the use of vetiver in south China.  Most of the areas that he personally is involved with are relatively high rainfall and hilly areas where soil is poor and where people are poor.  In Yunnan province a group of farmers have formed a cooperative to support the production of cattle and goats using vetiver as the main source of feed. Liyu's note is at: and is well worth reading.  The bottom line is that when grown as a forage, and managed and fed on a rotational cutting system at a time when the vetiver leaf is young it is possible to get good growth and substantial increase in incomes.  It is interesting that these farmers also sell some of their vetiver as plant material to local construction companies for slope stabilization and other purposes. In addition on farm erosion and rainfall runoff is reduced. Seems to be a WIN WIN situation!!

I have been writing about the potential of these  multipurpose applications of vetiver for a number of years now.  This one from Yunnan is a good example.  Vetiver is grown and managed (not just as a hedge) as a forage crop supporting in this case 3 head of cattle/ha; it is cut as forage every two or three weeks (at larger scale it could be strip grazed); some of it is being harvested and sold as planting material; it is drought tolerant, it grows with minimum inputs, and is protecting and enhancing the soil. The cow manure will either be used for biogas production or returned to the land.  The cooperativer structure is interesting, quote "The cooperative operates as a combination of company, cooperative, and farmers. The Yunnan Vetiver Sci-Tech Co. Ltd, a branch company of Kunming Guangbao Biotechnology Engineering Co. Ltd is a shareholder in the form of technical service, seedling supply, and Vetiver plant material repurchase; the cooperative distributes seedlings to farmers in terms of individual need; and the farmers individually cultivate the Vetiver.  Worth trying in other countries????
Dick Grimshaw

he Vetiver System for Quality – Prevention and Treatment of Contaminated Water and Land

Coincident to the Climate Change meeting in Paris, TVNI has published the Second Edition of “The Vetiver System for Quality – Prevention and Treatment of Contaminated Water and Land” authored by Paul Truong of Australia and Luu Thai Danh of Vietnam.  The publication updates research and fields experience carried out by various scientists and users around the world showing the importance and success of the Vetiver System for dealing with polluted water and land.  The results and methods applied demonstrates the uniqueness of Vetiver grass as a plant that has special characteristics in its stand alone mode, as well as its interesting symbiotic relationship with other organisms associated with its rhizosphere that enable Vetiver to remove toxic chemicals from both soil and water.  A plant that is so well behaved, that can clean up polluted water and land contaminated by heavy metals and other toxic chemicals, and that can function efficiently over a huge range of soil, water, and climatic conditions, is truly incredible.  This publication is a testament to many contributors to the development of the Vetiver System, especially to Paul Truong who has dedicated a good part of his life to the development of  “Vetiver Phytoremediation Technology”.  Hard copy of this book (containing nearly one hundred photos, figures, and tables) is available in early December from, and can be viewed on TVNI’s website:
Dick Grimshaw

Climate Change – The need to do better with soil and water conservation

Climate change is already creating more intense storms – floods; and less rain and higher temperatures – drought. It will get WORSE. We need to become very much more active in finding solutions that can easily and inexpensively be applied. We have written many times about the Vetiver System for soil and water conservation, and now is the time to step up its application particularly in the warmer areas of the world. The verified facts are that the Vetiver System’s use of the  unique plant, Vetiver grass, results in: (1) significant reduction in soil loss, (2) significant reduction in rain fall runoff, (3) reduced soil fertility loss, (4) improved groundwater recharge, and (5) improved crop yields and incomes. 

The latest research comes from a Nigerian paper

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