What is the Vetiver system?
The Vetiver system has an important role in agriculture in general, but mainly in the conservation of soil and water in agricultural lands, being one of its main applications. On agricultural lands, it offers an effective, low-cost method for soil and water conservation in areas where there is a slope. An example is the improvement obtained in the production of crops in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
For all this, this system is the ideal solution to control the loss of fertile soil up to 90% and the reduction of runoff of up to 70%, which leads to a significant increase in the availability of rainwater for the crops and aquifer recharge. But this system does not end here, it goes one step further improving soil fertility, resulting in higher crop yields of up to 40%.
The recovery of soil and the harvest of water is essential in the agriculture of our time when the erosion and loss of fertile soil is described by different authors as public enemy number 1 and not without reason, the current values are between 40 and 70 tons per hectare / year, currently we are 7000 million human beings and there are no more than 5000 million hectares of fertile soil on the earth, it is urgent that we create fertile soil and in vetiver we have an ideal and low-cost tool.
Recovering soil and water to stop the erosion caused by agricultural work is an action that has an essential tool in vetiver. Forming barriers in a contour line guarantees protection and retention of the arable layer, if we compare this system with other possible ones – be it walls, terraces, bio-rolls, etc., SV will always be more economical, and once it is established it is a source of supply of material for future barriers, padding for livestock bed, biomass etc.
In sloping areas it acts as a living wall and retention of sediments and water, the former being trapped behind the barrier creating terraces, and without causing the barrier to be buried as it will grow at the same time as material accumulates behind it. being this rich in nutrients and leading this to create fertile soil.
As for the water that runs down the slope when it reaches the barrier, its speed decreases backwards infiltrating the ground and through the roots of the barrier accumulating in the subsoil, the percentage that exceeds the barrier is minimal and at low speed, helping this that keep infiltrating the ground beyond the barrier. To take into account that the purifying capacity of the roots will leave a very high quality infiltrated water free of contaminants.
Another value to take into account of the barrier is its effectiveness as a retaining wall, namely its roots can reach up to 5 meters deep and its tensile strength can be 75 Mps or more, the roots of vetiver develop in vertical which means that in no case do they compete with adjacent crops. In other words, among other functions, they make it possible to develop sloping crops without loss of soil due to runoff.