Vetiver

:
A Grass of Economic and Permacultural Importance in Post-Quake Haiti

Written by: Monica Boyce, Ph.D. Monica Boyce, Ph.D. Vetiver 1

Table of Contents
Background................................................................................................................................................ 3 Market........................................................................................................................................................ 5 Haitian Owned.......................................................................................................................................5 Frager/Agri Supply........................................................................................................................... 5 continental fragance S.A....................................................................................................................... 7 CERAM CENTER................................................................................................................................ 7 Non-Haitian Owned.............................................................................................................................. 8 Vetiver Development Projects............................................................................................................... 9 The Haiti Sustainable Vetiver Project...............................................................................................9 Permacultural Applications...................................................................................................................... 11 Resources................................................................................................................................................. 14 Vetiver Network International............................................................................................................. 14 Vetiver Network International blog.....................................................................................................14 Vetiver Network Discussion Board..................................................................................................... 14 Vetiver Grass Sales Outlets............................................................................................................14

Monica Boyce, Ph.D.

Vetiver

2

Background
Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) – is a perennial grass, native to India. An alternative name, in India, is khus. This grass can grow to 1.5 m (4.5 feet) and it's growth habit is clumping. This species does not form horizontal surface mat-like root systems but rather sends roots down 2 to 4 m (6 ft to 12 feet) in depth. This plant is related to other grasses such as: lemongrass, citronella, and palmarosa. Useful in combating erosion due to the deep rooting structure. The roots have been used in stabilizing earthen structures such as berms, stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies. As the growth habit is closely growing clumps, it is useful in controlling surface water as well. This species is not considered especially invasive as it's method of propagation is not through stolons (underground runners that establish new growth) but rather via offsets (aboveground asexual clones formed from meristematic tissues). Other uses for this species include: as a feedstock for perfumery, medicinal uses, and as a base material in household items such as mats. 1 There are two types of vetiver: wild type with colonizing root system (invasive) and the domesticated variety. Vetiver uses a specialized form of photosynthesis – C4 – adapted for dry or drought conditions. Vetiver is non-photoperiod sensitive and grows and flowers year round. Does best if ESTABLISHED in full sun and then it can survive in deep shade for decades, tolerating near darkness found under canopy of tropical forests and rubber tree plantations. Vetiver is a self-riser, meaning that as silt builds up around the base of the grass clump the crown rises to match the new soil level. 2

Illustration 1: vetiver roots Monica Boyce, Ph.D. Vetiver 3

Illustration 2: Vetiver morphology

Monica Boyce, Ph.D.

Vetiver

4

Market
Haiti, Java, and Réunion are leaders in global vetiver oil production. Other smaller producers include China, Brazil and some small nations. Supposedly, Réunion is considered to produce the best vetiver oil (called “bourbon vetiver”) with the next more favorable being oil from Haiti and then Java. World vetiver oil production about 250 tons/year. Estimated annual consumption:3
United States France Switzerland United Kingdom Japan Germany Netherlands Other 100 tons 50 tons 30 tons 20–25 tons 10 tons 6 tons 5 tons 30–40 tons

Haitian Owned

Frager/Agri Supply
Frager/Agri Supply is a company owned by Pierre Léger (LinkedIn). An industry wibesite describes the history of this company as follows: “AGRI-SUPPLY is the largest producer and exporter of Vetiver oil in the world. Its Vetiver oil factory, known as FRAGER, is located in Les Cayes, the heart of the principal vetiver producing region in Southwestern Haiti which extends from Port Salut to Aquin. The plant was established in 1958 by Franck Léger on the grounds of his father Demetrius Léger's alcohol distillery. Monica Boyce, Ph.D. Vetiver 5

Vetiver processing had been introduced in Haiti in the 1940's by the Frenchman Lucien Ganot. In 1984, the plant was taken over by Franck's son, Pierre Léger, and his company AGRI-SUPPLY CO. S.A.. Since then, AGRI-SUPPLY has more than doubled the size of the plant to 44 atmospheric stills each built to handle one metric ton of vetiver roots. Total production capacity is 80 metric tons of vetiver oil per year. The plant extracts vetiver oil by steam distillation.” 4

Illustration 4: Frager farmers in field Illustration 3: Frager harvest

Illustration 5: Frager oil processing facility (in Haiti) Frager employs 27,000 families as contract cultivators of vetiver. With a kilogram of vetiver selling for US$ 69, Frager has a healthy turnover of US$ 4 million. After completing studies in agronomy in the Netherlands, Mr. Léger approached one of the most important perfume companies, based in Switzerland. The company gave him a contract, which paid for the replacement of a charcoal-fired boiler, dating from 1880, with an oil-fired boiler and for the installation of other sophisticated technology. A satellite phone was purchased for the express purpose of maintaining close contact with European clients. The combination of direct distribution, new technology and low operating costs helped Frager attain an advantage over competitors in Brazil, China, Indonesia and Reunion (which has now withdrawn from the market). Pierre Léger believes strongly in direct contacts with his local community, too, to maintain the success Monica Boyce, Ph.D. Vetiver 6

of his business. Employees are given a chance to participate in the running of the enterprise. Mr. Léger takes part in harvesting and in the celebratory community get-togethers to sing traditional songs. He is also initiating his son into the business. 5 “Pierre Leger from the southern city of Les Cayes addressed Haiti's lack of infrastructure. He claimed to be Haiti's largest vetiver exporter, with operations based in the southern department. He castigated Haitian President René Préval's "lack of entrepreneurial vision" and the Haitian government's perennial begging. The current government and those of the past have contented themselves with pursuing international aid without really trying to promote national production, he said. Leger recounted the troubles he had in getting fuel to his operations over Haiti's sole artery to the south which was damaged after the 2008 storms. Building shipping ports and airports could resolve such problems, he argued. "You need to have infrastructure before inviting people to invest in your country, even if it is entrepreneurs from the Haitian diaspora," Leger said.” 6 Contact info: Pierre Léger Frager 172 rue du Centre Port-au-Prince, Haiti HP-6110 E-mail: agrisupply@acn2.net

continental fragance S.A.
Contact Person: Mr. Gael Perpignand (Executive Management) Company: continental fragance S.A. Address: 17 rue Pinchinat, Petion ville, Port au Prince, Haiti Zip/Postal: ha0000 T elephone: 509-3-7035943 Fax: 509-2-2563511 Mobile: 954-7194232

CERAM CENTER
Contact Person: Mr. Gilbert Dominique (Owner/Entrepreneur) Company: CERAM CENTER Address: #1Rue Rigaud, Petion-Ville, HAITI, Haiti Telephone: 509-3-4431447 Fax: 509-2-2571633 Mobile: 509-36838480

Monica Boyce, Ph.D.

Vetiver

7

SIFA - International Trade Agency & Import-Export Agency Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (W. I) Mr. Moise Smith Jacques

Non-Haitian Owned
GR Associates Manufacturer, Trading Company Gore Chambers GK Avenue Cochin Kochi, Kerala India 682002 Telephone: 91-484-2226081 Mobile Phone: 919388471125 Fax: 91-484-2212271 US Based importer Contact Person: Mr. Hans Laguerre (Owner/Entrepreneur) Company: ***** Address: 25 Third, Brockton, Mass, USA Zip/Postal: 02301 Telephone: 1-617-6406372 Contact Person: Mr. Michael Scott (Sales) Company: K-Meck Group Import- Export Address: #44 Rte. De Tabbrre, Cazeau, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti Zip/Postal: W.I Telephone: 509-509-2518-0256 Fax: 509-954-7190548 Mobile: 954-7190548 Contact Person: Mr. Satardekar Laxmi (Sales) Company: IGG Address: Dabhar St,1st Floor,, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Zip/Postal: 400001 Telephone: 91-22-23455355 Fax: 91-22-23476556 Contact Person: Mr. darrel kurtz (Sales) Company: Benassai Imports Inc Address: 13800 HIghway 9 North, Suite D120, Alpharetta, ga, USA Zip/Postal: 30004 Telephone: 1-678-2409102 Fax: 1-7707836590 Contact Person: Ms. guiyi zeng (Sales) Company: Vetiver Smart Lock Ltd. Company Address: daozhaohoudeshangliangzhougongyeyuan, dongguan, guangdong, China Zip/Postal: 523000 Telephone: 86-020-87031446 Fax: 86-020-87031446

Monica Boyce, Ph.D.

Vetiver

8

Vetiver Development Projects

The Haiti Sustainable Vetiver Project
Joint venture between EcoVentures International (EVI) & Estee Lauder “market-based approach to identify market-driven solutions that link the value of existing and potential environmental and social benefits into the commercial supply chain. By doing so, Vetiver grasses will be properly valued for both its environmental, social, and commercial value However, whereas many environmental management and social development projects rely on public sector transfers to land-users, the Haiti Sustainable Vetiver Project will rely on the private sector to reward land users.” “The aim of the project is to develop and adopt a Sustainability Standard, with value in the marketplace, and thus to formalize purchasing agreements with significant international buyers. This project will create immediate and long-term gains for Haiti’s Vetiver Industry in the following ways: • Access to new markets • Secure long-term supply of Vetiver by reducing risk of erosion and other landscape changes • Increased quality and quantity of Vetiver” “EVI will work with key partners to perform the research and development required to formalize this standard and facilitate the adoption of the standard by Vetiver grass growers and Vetiver Oil distillers in Haiti. • Sustainable Harvesting: Implement sustainable Vetiver harvesting scheme to ensure soil erosion, soil retention, flood mitigation and management, and water quality benefits of the Vetiver root. The Vetiver Network, an international organization, has tremendous resources to help develop this scheme. • Organic: Certifying Organic practices of Vetiver growers and distillers • Energy and Water Efficiency: Upgrading and technical assistance provided Vetiver distillery facilities for energy efficiency, water management, and renewable fuel utilization (particularly looking at the use of Vetiver waste from the distillation process as a sustainable fuel source) • Alternative, Renewable Fuel Proliferation: Explore utilization of the Vetiver Grass to develop a commercially viable fuel alternative to charcoal as an additional income source for Vetiver farmers. • Increased Income for Farmers of Vetiver: Develop a payment mechanism that financially rewards farmers for adoption of sustainable practices. • Reforestation and Diversification: Reforest Vetiver Plots through Intercropping to Monica Boyce, Ph.D. Vetiver 9

Diversify Farmer Incomes, Enhance Biodiversity, and Sequester Carbon, with the opportunity for farmers’ reforestation activities to qualify for carbon credits on voluntary and mandatory carbon markets.” “EVI is working with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Market Chain Enhancement Project (MarChE) to leverage further funding of $250,000 to develop the standards and support the adoption of the standards by Vetiver Growers and Distillers. EVI has developed a partnership with The Estee Lauder Company to provide technical assistance and research and development capacity for the development of a market viable Haiti Vetiver Sustainability standard. EVI is already working with the Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (ORE), a local organization in the south of Haiti, the Vetiver Network, and select Vetiver Oil distillers, who have demonstrated willingness to adopt the sustainability standards.” Contact info: Kate Davenport Project Director kate@ecoventures.org 202-203-8110 1519 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 200 Washington DC 20036 202 667 0802 www.eco-ventures.org

Monica Boyce, Ph.D.

Vetiver

10

Permacultural Applications
The Vetiver Network International blo g (by Dick Grimshaw LinkedIn) wrote, from experience with vetiver cultivation, the following regarding how one would need to approach the regeneration of the Haitian landscape post-earthquake. • • • • • • Area of Haiti = 2,775,000 ha (we can discount what does not need protection later) Average of 10 rows of vetiver per ha = 1km per ha or 2.8 million linear km of hedge Number of vetiver slips required = 27.8 billion Area of nurseries each producing 0.5 million slips/ha/annum = 55,000 ha Area if 15 year program envisaged = approx 3,700 ha nursery per annum. Number of nurseries at 0.1 ha/nursery= 37,000 (One nursery for every 75 ha of treated land) 7

The Grimshaw goes on to say: “Revenue per nursery (bare rooted plants) would be in the order of $500 to $1500 per nursery (using farm gate price per slip of 1 to 3 cents per slip - higher price when sold to public infrastructure contractors) - Quite attractive return for a small farmer + bi-products that include forage, fuel and other products. PLUS crop yield increases of up to 50% as farm risks reduced and farmers use more inputs. A 0.1 ha nursery (2,000 meters of plants) would be manageable using family labor. 37,000 families involved. Increased income could come from producing containerized vetiver plants for infrastructure projects. Off farm use of vetiver for infrastructure stabilization, rehabilitating degraded lands would be publicly funded and would involve large amounts of labor for land preparation and planting. Say $1.0 per meter or $1,000 per km of linear hedge. 1.8 million kilometers of publicly funded hedgerows would cost $1,800 million or $120 million per year.” Grimshaw, in another blog post (Haiti - Agriculture - Production and Disaster Mitigation ) states: “Vetiver has a positive impact on insects - providing habitat for beneficial insects, such as parasitic wasps, and as a host plant for stem borer - significantly reducing the pest damage to maize without harming the vetiver.” and refers this link (PDF). and “Vetiver can also be grown for its oil, IF its is planted as a "crop" and protected by permanent vetiver hedgerows.”8 Grimshaw blogs with images on the use of vetiver for erosion control on very steep hillsides in this post (Vetiver System - for Slope Stabilization in Haiti)

Monica Boyce, Ph.D.

Vetiver

11

Philippines vetiver work on steep hillsides:

Illustration 6: Prepared for split planting

Illustration 7: Splits are planted out

Illustration 8: 1 year later In China:

Illustration 10: Very steep slope in China, newly planted in 2000

Illustration 9: Same slope in 2006 showing native species regenerating naturally amongst the vetiver

Who is Dick Grimshaw? Independent Environmental Services Professional, previously agriculturist at World Bank, attended University of London. His email = dickgrimshaw@vetiver.org

Monica Boyce, Ph.D.

Vetiver

12

Richard Webb, writing for PRI-AU, in the post Vetiver Grass – A Hedge Against Erosion, January 19, 2009, on vetiver as a permacultural tool: “Ideal for Keyline Vetiver grows with the land, and so appeals to those who actually use the land, the farmers and foresters who are more concerned with increased production from crops and trees than stopping erosion itself. Vetiver is ideal for use in Keyline systems. Given the vast areas of bare, eroded hillsides in the tropics, or those areas of south east Asia that are covered with unproductive Imperata grass, in which vetiver grows with no problem, I see great potential for its use. I am convinced that the combination of vetiver with Acacia mangium or Peltophorum pterocarpum, which can shade out Imperata, can bring these lands into effective production and put forests back onto the hills. Extra Design Notes: If there is the possibility of zero annual rainfall, don’t use vetiver alone on contour banks as the roots could die and collapse the soil. Vetiver grows better in semi-arid regions if cut regularly and should be planted in summer, and watered until established, otherwise it will struggle. 9” In the comments to this post is this by Jesse Johnson: “Vetiver or khus khus grass does a wonderful job filtering sediment but is not a substitute for swale and berm, which allow actual water storage and infiltration. Note that it is mycorrhizal, so put some old root soil in new planting holes to get the fungi established; don’t buy bare, cleaned roots. Only trained personnel should design plantings on more than a 1:1 (45 degree) slope. In Vietnam, poorly designed plantings have failed (no duh!). Don’t use it as forage if you have heavy metals, it will uptake them. Suitable for planting one plant wide on property borders; forms underground hedgerow against moles, who hate it.” Then Dick Grimshaw responds with: “Ref: vetiver and infiltration. The standard practice in Ethiopia for soil and water conservation has generally been through the use of terraces known as “fanyaju”. This has led to many problems not least the habit that they provide for rodents. Over the past 20 years Ethiopian wetlands have dried up. following the introduction of vetiver hedges there has been significant improvement in wetland restoration dues to vetiver’s capacity to improve rainfall infiltration. These changes are so significant that the Ethiopian Wetland Association is one of the leading promoters of watershed stabilization using vetiver. There is an interesting article at:http://www.vetiver.org/ETH_WORKSHOP_09/ETH_A2a.pdf Other evidence from Ehiopia shows the newal of year round potable spring water in areas where vetiver has been used extensively for upland soil and water conservation. The issue of mycorrhiza. Containerised vetiver will usually have mycorrhiza when planted out. However it is expensive to propagate in this way. Bare rooted plants normally grow very well and will acquire mycorrhiza in the process. At least 95% of the vetiver planted world wide is bare rooted. Heavy metals: research indicates that except for lead most of the heavy metals are retained in the roots of vetiver and that it is safe to use the leaves for forage, mulch etc. Slope stabilization: whatever slope it is important apply the technology correctly. Failures reportd in Vietnam were due to (a) some untrained contractors been used for planting and (b) failure due to inherently difficult slopes and soils where the failure surface is lower than the depth of the vetiver roots.” Monica Boyce, Ph.D. Vetiver 13

Resources

Vetiver Network International Vetiver Network International blog Vetiver Network Discussion Board Vetiver Grass Sales Outlets Puerto Rico – Agriflora – Commercial Vetiver grower Contact info: Alberto Rodriguez - agriflora312@gmail.com Site: Agriflora Tropicals (http://agrifloratropicals.com) Images at this link :

Illustration 11: Agriflora vetiver splits

Monica Boyce, Ph.D.

Vetiver

14

1 Wikipedia contributors, "Vetiver," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php? title=Vetiver&oldid=323527934 (accessed February 8, 2010). 2 Vetiver Grass: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion, Panel on Vetiver, Board on Science and Technology for International Development, National Research Council, 1993, National Academies Press 978-0-309-04269-7 3 Vetiver Grass: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion, Panel on Vetiver, Board on Science and Technology for International Development, National Research Council, 1993, National Academies Press 978-0-309-04269-7 4 5 6 7 8 9 http://www.aromatics-adl.com/anglais/level_1/four/agri.htm http://www.tradeforum.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/335.html http://wadnerpierre.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html http://vetivernetinternational.blogspot.com/2010/01/haiti-environmental-stabilization-think.html http://vetivernetinternational.blogspot.com/2010/01/haiti-agriculture-production-and.html http://permaculture.org.au/2009/01/19/vetiver-grass-a-hedge-against-erosion/

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful