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Vetiver handicraft opportunities

Vetiver handicraft opportunities
Vetiver handicrafts around the world

Vetiver for Land Restoration

Vetiver for Land Restoration
An Ecuador experince

Vetiver powers agriculture


Sunday, January 11, 2009

I have just received an email from Yoann Coppin of Madagascar, part of which I reproduce below. He and some of his fellow Malagasy farmers are convinced that the Vetiver System could solve many of their problems that relate to soil fertility, declining water resources and other natural resource issues, particularly those relating to the loss of tropical forest, coral reef destruction etc.

In the Vetiver System we have a proven technology. Why will not the big aid agencies wake up to this fact and start using the technology on a wide scale? The aid agencies have dumped billions of dollars into agriculture and natural resource management and have precious little to show for it. Climate change is a fact of life and we have to meet its challenges on a large scale. In the area of natural resource conservation the Vetiver System can be applied on a large scale with positive impact on water and land resources, sustainable agriculture, and reduction of poverty. My message to aid agencies and governments is to take your heads out of the sand, get PRACTICAL, and use this technology before it is too late!

Now from Yoann Coppin

"I received your mails only now, because since the end of December I have been in the village where my first project with Vetiver was undertaken in 2003 on the East Coast, to conserve soil on sloping lands following cut and burning, and to promote a sustainable agriculture, . There is no electricity, no phone network, and no internet, but there is still a part of the rainforest standing, something rare now in Madagascar, with an impressive biodiversity. This village is a wonderful place. But the deforestation, due to a traditional agricultural practice, and precious wood exploitation, destroys more and more of this wealth. The big cyclone Ivan and the particularly dry year in 2008 have impacted the vegetation, the soil and the groundwater. My old friend, literal meaning, who has lived more than 70 years at this village, has never seen the coconut trees in such poor shape: all the leaves have become brown, and there are only a few trees producing coconuts in the last year. At this moment we are supposed to be in the rainy season but the weather is dry and the sun shining hard. The educated people know that apart from climate change, the consequences are also due to how we manage our environment. On the mountains, where there is still some small forests left, farmers cut and burn before cultivation and results in forest and water reduction. Nobody takes care of the soil and maintains fertility, even on sloping lands with a fine cultivable soils. In the rainy season erosion make the soil poor and the rivers full of sediments, that end up on the coral reefs. The mangroves are drained, cut and burned for real estate development. The consequences are more coastal erosion (less and less coral reefs and mangroves), less protections against cyclones, less groundwater, less fertile soil, less forest and marine resources. Even as we observe this environnment decreasing year after year, there are no efficient initiatives taken. The Vetiver System could be the solution, and I would like to start again a project there.

In any case, since 2003 a lot of villagers adopted Vetiver in this area now (there was no Vetiver in this area before my project, but only few farmers adopted that on farm for soil and water conservation measures, because there was not enough budget and time to carry out the project). In contrast, in another area, where I worked for an NGO for almost 2 years and where I also brought the Vetiver, I am pleasantly surprised to see and to hear of a lot of farmers using Vetiver for farm soil and water conservation at their own initiative, because they saw the benefits for crops, especially for ginger and curcuma (tumeric). When I first promoted the Vetiver System there, I had to give farmers plant material and grants to plant it on their land. Now they are using vetiver without incentive grants. This shows that vetiver is an efficient solution, applicable on a large scale by the farmers, and with a big potential to be applied for many activities. I think that’s the time to act, because the environnmental situation at Madagascar is dramatic : the thermometer show there is only 10% of the rainforest left !"

Some of you may have read my earlier blog on the use of VS in Ethiopia where it has done all the things that Yoann and his Malagasy farmers have also achieved, but on a larger scale.


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