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soil conservation



What is Vetiver?

Vetiver (Vetiveria Zizanioides) is a grass originating from India that is used in various countries in the world: China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, among others. Its principal function is the long-term retention of eroded soils. This practice drives us to the formation of gradual, living terraces which are of vital importance in the zone of influence of the project. Strong slopes are one of the main characteristics in the area where The Golondrinas Foundation is developing its activities. Normally this is not a favorable area to plant but with appropriate management with a long-term Vetiver system, the ecological boundary will improve and will provide both landscaping and tourist advantages. The Golondrinas Foundation has been experimenting with the best techniques and soil use for the last six years. Through this research we have discovered the existence of Vetiver grass. We searched for information through The Vetiver Network who informed us about CIAT, The International Center on Tropical Agriculture in Cali. They donated the first plantlets to us. We trained and observed the beneficial practice of this grass in the formation of terraces and the retention of soil.

Later on, CIAT pointed out places in Ecuador where we could get this grass and told us about DFC, Farmer Forest Development. They also mentioned the Margarita Hacienda, property of the Ministry of Agriculture on the coast. This is how after some investigating, The Golondrinas Foundation obtained the information and introduced Vetiver to the Lower Rio Mira Valley as a way to help eroded soils in the area.

We understand Vetiver to have multiple uses such as: water retention, wall retention, soil improvement and in the perfume industry, among other things. However, we still have not made use of these qualities since we are located in an area with steep slopes and our biggest problem is erosion. Another reason is that this is an agricultural zone in which there still isn’t the acceptance and conviction that this grass can help re-establish soil with the formation of terraces. Our greatest concern is to train farmers to improve their crop yield so that they can improve the economic situation for their family and future generations.

On the demonstration farm Peña Negra you will find the formation of terraces and contour lines created with the use of Vetiver grass. It is in practice that we are able to explain the advantages relating to its use such as in soil retention or rather, erosion control.

We are spreading the application of Vetiver grass and distributing it to farmers and farmer’s organizations as well as public and private organizations so they can apply it at the required sites. We give technical assistance and show the benefits this grass has to offer. It is a plant that is easy to manage and adapts well provided it’s planted at the right altitude. Mr. Manteca offers training to local farmers and technical assistance for those who wish to understand and apply the benefits of this grass on a regional and national level.



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Fundación Golondrinas es una organizacion no gubernamental sin fines de lucro, fue creada, con el Acuerdo Ministerial. # 213 del 26 de junio 1996-MAG/INEFAN.

© Fundación Golondrinas 2008

(C) 2008 FUNDACION GOLONDRINAS, /Gualupe - Ecuador