Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Regional Vetiver Conference - Chile - Proceedings

The Proceedings of the Regional Vetiver Conference that was held in Chile in October 2010 have been added to our Google Docs site and can be read and downloaded

The files are a mix of papers. posters and presentations (powerpoint and pdfs) in Spanish (Sp) and English (En) and are well worth reading.  Past experience indicates increased VS activities after such conferences, often due to the new facts and experiences that are published.

Also there are a number of files in Spanish that were not presented at the conference, but were presented on other occasions within the region.  These have been posted to the "Spanish" folder.

Note some are very large files - high speed internet would be useful!"

Dick Grimshaw

King of Thailand Vetiver Award - 2011

Ever since the first International Vetiver Conference (1966) His Majesty the King of Thailand has awarded $10,000 for outstanding vetiver research and development.  Here is the latest announcement:

"The King of Thailand Vetiver Awards On the occasion of the Fifth International Conference on Vetiver (ICV-5), which will be held in Lucknow, India, between 29-31 October 2011, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Chairperson of His Majesty the King of Thailand’s Chaipattana Foundation, has graciously granted US$ 10,000 from the Chaipattana Foundation for “The King of Thailand Vetiver Awards” for the most outstanding works on vetiver. The awards will be split into the following categories:

1. Outstanding Vetiver Research (US$ 5,000)
  • Agricultural Application (US$ 2,500)
  • Non - agricultural Application (US$ 2,500)
2. Outstanding Dissemination of the Vetiver System
  •  Government Agency (US$ 2,500)
  • Non - government Agency (US$ 2,500)

The winners will receive the awards from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Patron of The Vetiver Network, on His Majesty the King of Thailand’s behalf, during the Opening Ceremony of the Fifth International Conference on Vetiver (ICV-5) in Lucknow, India. With the support from the Chaipattana Foundation, the recipients of the awards will have the honor to present their papers in the Conference and be covered with the cost of participation at ICV-5 as well as the international travel between their home country".

More information and a downloadable application form is at:

Please pass this information to vetiver users, agencies, and others who might be interested in participating.

Dick Grimshaw

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vetiver System and vineyards

From John Greenfield in New Zealand:

I planted vetiver hedges on a property here in Kerikeri where the owner had established a small home vineyard.  In this case, the owner, a business man, wanted the best of all worlds, Vineyards; horses; big game fishing; tennis courts, unfortunately the site he chose for the vines was on an old slip, and to make matters worse he had excavated (destroyed) the toe slope below the grapes to make the tennis courts. As you can see from the photos attached, the vetiver hedges protect the vines from the runoff above and stabilise the ‘old slip’ from the weakened toe slope below the vines.

This was mainly a slope stabilisation operation and it has worked, and is still working perfectly, over the past 10 years.  I was also interested to see what effect the vetiver hedges had on the grapes (Syrah var.). Anecdotally, these grapes out yielded all other vineyards in the area, seemed to have less trouble with pests and diseases and seemed to get all the bigger growers thinking that there may be something in using vetiver hedges in growing grapes.

Regarding the ‘high’ yield of this vineyard, I put that down to the moisture conservation effects on the hillside, as we are prone to long hot summer droughts in this area.  

That’s about it – nothing startling but certainly opens one’s mind to the need further research in to the beneficial effects of vetiver hedges in grape production.

I am hoping to get some new info from Anelia Marais who has worked with vetiver in The Cape Province, Ellensburg, South Africa. Editor

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vetiver System in Senegal. Issues and problems

Here is an important note from Tony Cisse in Senegal.  He has some important insights to development and the introduction of new technologies

My vision for Senegal is the day when someone visiting a farm without vetiver will show surprise and question the farmer why he isn't using it just as everyone else. 

The profile of the vetiver system fits so well into the climate change adaptation agenda. The issues facing the ordinary farmers; soil erosion, decreasing soil fertility, flooding, ravines and lack of animal fodder during the dry season are all challenges that we know vetiver can rise to. Even with the increasingly erratic weather patterns characterised by very heavy and damaging flash floods followed by 9 months of now rainfall and temperatures in the 40s, vetiver plants have shown they can survive the harshness of drought, appearing dry and dead only to flourish with the first rain.

The problem in adoption is as ever less to do with the plant itself and more associated with the politics of 'development'. For those  in decision making positions whose primary interest in and initiative is extracting their 10% commission have little interest in effective sustainable solutions. Much better to find capital intensive 'solutions' with their associated kickbacks, whose failure generate further opportunities for new 'solutions' than something whose technology is instantly more understandable to ordinary farmers, and easily controlled by them, and is more effective as time goes on. A properly planted and maintained vetiver system is in place for life, never needing new contracts and investments.

What is very encouraging is that the vetiver system is not new in Senegal. If you talk to the old people they still have memories of its use during their childhood, mainly as a means of delineating fields. The fact that there are names for the plant in all the national languages, some even differentiating between the plant and the leaves (Serreer Saafen call the plant 'ton' but the leaves 'lat') show a traditional knowledge that can be built on. This is important as it is not seen, by those who have this 'memory' as some newfangled introduction of some else's (invariably a foreign expert) of which they have seen many come and go.  The reasons for its disappearance are not clear. My theory is that the variety that was used was vetiver nigritinia, and that probably this was less resilient to drought than the zinzanoides variety we use. In Mali people tell me that nigritinia is still very present (but increasingly harvested wild to provide roots for drinking water - all the roots for sale in Senegal are imported from Mali), but is found in wetland areas. The other theory is that in the Cap Vert area the introduction of mechanised means of farming with ploughs and tractors may well have destroyed remaining hedges....

Tony Cisse's blog is at:

Vetiver System in Arid Areas

"Monument de la Renaissance Africaine" 
Close up of vetiver on monument site

Slope stabilization at Sococim site
I would like to draw your attention to Tony Cisse's work with vetiver in Senegal.  Tony farms (using vetiver) in the Cap Vert area (200 mm rainfall per year!).

He has made good use of the plant on his farm and has a growing business in infrastructure slope stabilization.  His latest work being the stabilization of the land supporting the huge statute "Monument de la Renaissance Africaine" see:

He has also been stabilizing infrastructure belonging to the industrial company - Sococim

Tony has been successful, where others have failed because he has always applied the technology correctly.  I would recommend that if you have not visited his blog that you do.

Tony's technical excellence level has recently been up graded to Class 1.  He truly knows what he is doing.  If he can achieve success in dry Senegal, you can be fairly assured that VS will be successful in areas of higher rainfall!

Tony runs training courses for local farmers  the response has been good.

Well done Tony!!

Dick Grimshaw

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Vetiver System grows!!

You might be interested  in these graphs based on Google Analytics data showing TVNI website visits from USA, Brazil and India over the past five years compared to total world wide visits  -- a steady growth in website visits.  Outside of the US, India and Brazil have the greatest number of visitors.  I have shown a separate graph for the latter two countries. Note the 2010 data was based on data thru November 3 extrapolated to December 31.

The bottom line is that more people are visiting the site as the technology gets better known around the world.  I believe that the expanded increase in vetiver websites and blogs, along with Google discussion groups in both English and regional languages has had, and continues to have significant impact.  We should encourage the expansion of such networking.  It costs very little, except for the individual effort required to set up the network, feed it, and monitor it.

Dick Grimshaw

Vetiver System farmer handbook for Haiti (French)

A modified version of "Vetiver Grass - A Hedge Against Erosion" by John Greenfield has been prepared by the WINNER project staff in Haiti.  The handbook is in French and contains new vetiver photos relating to Haiti, and has been designed for farmers and extension agents. It has been written in such a way that to make it easier to translate into Haitian.  If you want to down load either a printer ready (15MB) version or an optimized (3MB) you may do so from TVNI's public document site.

This handbook could be usefully used in other French speaking tropical countries.

Dick Grimshaw

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