The Fifth International Vetiver Conference (ICV5) has now completed in Lucknow, India. The conference was well attended and some interesting papers and experiences were exchanged. The individual power point (pdf format) presentations and papers submitted are available for viewing and downloading.
It is good to see an increase in interest in India, and the work done in India over the past three years (since the 2008 workshop in Kerela) is encouraging. What is clear is that VS has a definite role to play in meeting future climate change and population increase challenges.
Some general papers on climate change were presented showing how VS can be used for the mitigation of many of the land related problems associated with weather changes and impact of population on scarce resources. A special case of the rehabilitation of landslide damage in Brazil is of special interest.
There is some interesting feedback from Vietnam on the success and failure of VS applications in that country. River bank stabilization in Assam, and coastal interface stabilization in Brazil were nicely presented and articulated, along with an excellent example of landslide rehabilitation. Other aspects of slope stabilization included some massive gully rehabilitation in the Congo.
Vetiver has an important role for on farm erosion control and land rehabilitation, and it is good to see an example from India (very much like one I saw in Ethiopia a few years ago) where completely degraded land has been brought back into productive use through the application of vetiver.
For the future we must find ways of furthering the promotion of this technology via both the private and public sectors. We need to get agency policy makers to support the technology and create policies and criteria for the use of VS. Agency guidelines and specifications need to be drawn up. Large and small private sector entrepreneurs need to expand their involvement and provide the expertise and plant material to support increased public demand. Large quantities of vetiver plant material will be needed in the future - the use of VS in Madagascar is one such example. We need to encourage expansion of VS information exchange through the Internet - blogs and discussion groups focused at regional, country and local level all have a place.
For anyone working in tropical and semitropical countries you should find something to interest you in the proceedings of this conference. Please feel free to send the links to friends and colleagues.
Finally we have to thank the organizers of the conference and all those who participated and contributed to its success. The next conference, ICV6, is planned to be held in Vietnam in four years time.