Chrysopogon zizanioides commonly known as vetiver is the proven soil and moisture conservation technique.
Vetiver is a perennial grass that grows in bunches and is native to India but also grows in the tropic regions of Europe, Africa and Asia.
Vetiver can grow up to a length of 1.5 meters, with the roots growing downwards, 2 – 4 meters in depth. With long stems and thin long leaves, vertiver grass shares similar morphological characteristics with lemon grass, Cymbopogon citratus, and palmorosa Cymbopogon martinii.
Vrtiver grass replaces the expensive engineering work of watershed management. To slow down and spread water flow, minimise soil loss, minimise landslides, stabilise river banks, slow bank erosion, to providing an environment that supports vegetation growth and minimise sediment entering waterways, planting vetiver grass is the natural, inexpensive option available today.
Termed the “miracle grass” vetiver has a strong fibrous root system that binds the soil to a depth of 3m and thus is more effective in minimising the occurrence of shallow landslides.
Vetiver can be grown in a wide variety of climate and will grow in almost all types of soil regardless of ph or salinity, thus making vetiver grasses the ultimate, effective, readily available and efficient tool in soil and moisture conservation.
Largely used by the agriculture industry globally and locally, vetiver is used in crop management and crop protection. As mulch, vetiver is used for weed control in coffee, cocoa, tea and sugar cane plantations.
Not only is vetiver used in the agriculture industry, other uses include; as flavouring in food, essential oils in perfumes, medicine, fuel cleaning and roof thatching.
Vetiver grass is now also making its way into the tourism industry in the Mamanucas. With the tourism industry contributing in some way or the other to the altering of our natural island setting, any more engineering work to minimise the effects on the environment is now solved by the miracle grass.
The first to look at vertiver as a soft option to water shed management are the two resorts in the Ahura group, namely Malolo Island Resort and Likuliku Lagoon resort.
The two resorts have started a small vertiver nursery and are also hoping to obtain more plants for transplant into areas that have been eroded for quite some time now.
As a cheap and proven soil and moisture conservation technique, resorts in the Mamanucas are encouraged to opt for the all natural and soft option – Vetiver grass!